Argentina aims to rake in $5 billion in investments in renewable energy by 2018 with the goal of reducing its energy deficit, a government official told Reuters, as hopes for near-term increased output from the Vaca Muerta shale field fade.
The South American country has ideal conditions for producing renewable energy, experts say: vast, wind-swept plains in Patagonia and sun-soaked subtropical lands in the north.
Yet renewable energy, excluding hydropower which many environmentalists do not consider sustainable, accounts for less than 1 percent of power generation, compared with 8 percent in neighboring Brazil.
The government earlier this month implemented a law mandating that renewable energy as a share of power consumption must rise to 8 percent by 2018 from 1.8 percent currently.
This aims to "diversify the power grid, replacing liquid combustibles which are normally mostly imported fossils," Sebastian Kind, Argentina's undersecretary for renewable energy, said in a recent interview.
Argentina has been running an energy deficit since 2011, draining foreign exchange reserves. So far, it produces virtually no solar energy and has only a few wind farms.
"The first goal is for 8 percent, requiring around $5 billion of investment to achieve between 2,000 and 3,000 megawatts," said Kind. "The law aims for a 20 percent share by 2025, which means 10,000 megawatts, requiring between $15 billion and $20 billion."