Argentina has extended the deadline for firms to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) for stalled renewable energy projects that are part of the Genren programme.
The project developers now have until May 15 to sign the contracts, the energy ministry said in a notification, without explaining why the deadline had been extended.
The deadline has been changed three times since November. The latest adjustment is from a previous deadline of the end of March.
Projects with generating capacity totalling around 550 MW from the Genren programme could reportedly sign PPAs before mid-May, though they must first secure financing and find EPC contractors.
In 2010, the government awarded PPAs to renewable energy projects under the programme with capacity totalling nearly 1,000 MW, leading to the installation of several wind, solar PV and mini-hydro plants.
Those included the 80-MW Rawson and 50-MW Loma Blanca wind farms, and most recently the 8-MW El Jume wind farm, which was inaugurated last October in the province of Santiago del Estero, in northern Argentina.
The companies selected under Genren originally entered into a PPA with state-run power firm Enarsa for a period of 15 years. However, only around 10% of the projects have been implemented to date. The rest were put on hold because of a lack of financing.
Since President Mauricio Macri took office in December 2015, Argentina’s previously underdeveloped renewables sector – which lagged behind neighbours Chile and Brazil – has seen rapid growth.
Last October, the Energy Ministry awarded contracts to 17 projects with a total capacity of 1,109 MW in the first round of another renewable energy programme, RenovAR. In a follow-up round of RenovAr a month later, the government awarded 1,281.5 MW of capacity across 30 wind and solar projects.
The government intends to hold renewables auctions every year over the next decade, with the next one scheduled for May.
Last year, Argentina's Chamber of Deputies approved a landmark new renewable energy law, which stipulates that the country must source 8% of its electricity from renewables by 2017, rising to 20% by 2025.
The legislation, which revised a 2006 renewable energy law, also established a new fund dedicated to the development of green power.