Gathering and making energy has and always will be an issue in terms of agendas and debates regarding political decisions on regional development, as is the case with the province of San Juan. Always progressing in a strategic manner alongside decisions made with commitment, San Juan has invested strongly in renewable-based energy over the past decade. This strategy has provided better prospects in our province and positioned ourselves in relation to the energy strategies of the nation.
The clear vision that was set out allowed for progress into the future as the province has continued to foster and develop the utilization of different styles of energy projects—essentially limited to the exploration and exploitation of renewable resources that are most apt to be developed in San Juan. In short there are two forms—solar and hydro. The development of hydropower on the one hand—by means of various types of hydropower structures—meets the need to store water to maintain and expand the agro and industrial sectors, as well as for consumption by the public and the generation of energy in a desert region. And resting on the other hand is the high-quality pollution-free sunlight that the province receives, low-amount of cloud cover, small amount of rainfall and altitudes available that lend the province towards the harvesting of this type of energy. San Juan is not only of the best areas for such not only in Argentina—but also looking internationally.
The government of San Juan has been observing such phenomena closely and made a clear decision to give permanent support to the goals of growing in said areas. The strategic plan for generating electricity has been laid out for the province, developed in part by EPSE, and has created results that provide large amounts of progress in both hydro and solar-based production. It is worth mentioning a special emphasis on solar, as San Juan was awarded with a third of national solar projects set for the country in 2016-2018; in other words, a third of the private investors involved were interested in these types of projects in the province. It is of utmost importance to emphasize here that success has been supported—not only by high-quality solar resources—but by the advantage in beings pioneers in solar PV on a national level. Advantages have been accrued in terms of experience, human resource training, and synergy between different departments and ministries within the province towards an understanding of the project developments and the provision of support from differing areas. Support comes from the legal know-how and drafted legislation, as well as social tranquility and the warmth and responsibility that comes from the workers of San Juan. All together it makes for an attractive investment for investors who are considering developing projects here in the province.
San Juan’s energy supply is mostly provided by hydroelectric plants. There are currently 5 under operation, one under construction and two more in the planning phase. Once the remaining hydro projects have been completed, the province will have reached its limit of hydro generation.
Even though expeditions are being carried out, it can be said that San Juan does not have any hydrocarbon or gas resources at this time. Such a context means that the province has to look for alternative electricity sources for continued economic development. In its look for a remedy, the province is studying geothermal prospects, and already created a wind and solar map to identify the best zones for the installation of turbines and PV plants. Furthermore speaking positively, the best resource in the province is that of solar since it rates at one of the highest in the world in terms of irradiation and heliophanies. Thanks to such, great advancements have been made.
The mix in San Juan is 100% renewable due to the high rate of hydro and solar generation. It practically supplies itself by importing only a little electricity in the late afternoon through the grid that is connected to the national market, but exports energy during daylight hours. The province also has 3 small thermal turbogas plants (30 MW installed) that are usually turn on at CAMMESA’s request for a particular technical need