Moira Jimeno

Research topic:

Towards a policy framework to develop wind energy: A comparative case study in Argentina and Uruguay with Germany as a reference case



The development of wind energy in Argentina and Uruguay, as developing countries, started only a few years ago, trying to face three energy-related issues: the rapid increase of energy demand, access to energy in rural and peri-urban areas without grid connection, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Urakami 2011). In Argentina, the renewable energy (RE) law Nº 26.190 (2006) states that by the year 2016, 8% of the electric powers supply must come from RE sources. Of this 8%, 50% must come from wind energy production (see Power Generation Program from Renewable Energy (GENREN - 2010)). Currently, Uruguay is increasingly developing wind power through new legislation (Decrees Nº 403 and Nº 41), which establish the goal of achieving 300 MW of wind power by 2015 as well as the strategic national energy policy called „Política Energética 2005-2030“, including renewable energies as a widespread state policy.

In spite of the similarities between both countries, there are some differences. In comparison to Argentina, Uruguay has a proper strategic national energy policy that promotes international investments of the wind industry in the domestic market. Beside the fact that Uruguay has a more favourable regulatory and policy framework than Argentina, political uncertainty and unwillingness in the latter cause investment risks for RE developers, because it is difficult for them to find the means of funding the high initial investment costs (Bravo 2011/Recalde 2011, in Urakami 2011).

Argentina, and Uruguay have been selected as the case studies because, although deployment of wind energy process started at the same period of time in both countries, their political interests and policy beliefs are quite different.

In addition, Germany is selected for being the pioneer reference example in the field of wind energy, but it is not a case study. Germany, as the reference example, will be analysed under two different aspects. On the one hand, it will be the reference case to understand wind energy development from the perspective of practical politics. On the other hand, Germany will be the reference example for the international policy diffusion analysis as an influential country in the development of wind energy in the case of Argentina and Uruguay.

The aim of this study is to compare similarities and differences between the two selected countries, focusing on how diverse political perceptions, beliefs, and interests of the policy-makers influence their decisions concerning wind energy policy. Finally, the analysis of the German influence in the domestic wind power development of each country, will contribute to broad “policy-learning research”.