By Tamarindo News Staff Photos courtesy: Coopeguanacaste
Coopeguanacaste´s Cacao Wind Energy Farm is located in Santa Cruz. The landscape of Santa Cruz has changed due to nine wind turbine towers located on the Cacao Mountains of Santa Cruz. These huge 98-meter-tall structures stand like skyscrapers and use the moving energy of wind to generate electricity that will benefit 20,000 homes in the area.
The Cacao Wind Farm by Coopeguanacaste, R.L began operations in January 2019, with an annual generation capacity of 60.11 Gigawatts (GWh). The ENERCON E-103 EP2 wind turbine towers have a nominal power (installed capacity) of 2.35 MW (MegaWatts).
They have an innovative design and a control system with technology that, unlike other wind turbines, is gearless.
This gives them many advantages such as maintenance and attrition reduction, thus allowing, on average, generated energy at sites with winds speed higher than 30 meters per second, and with low wind speeds of up to 3 meters per second.
The energy generated in the Cacao Wind Farm will be conducted through a 6,632- meter transmission line built by Coopeguanacaste, R.L. and will be directly interconnected to the distribution circuits of the cooperative.
The Cacao Wind Farm, located close to the communities of Cacao and Bernabela, covers 400 hectares and also protects the local species of flora and fauna. With an investment of $51.8 million, the wind farm will enable its own generation capacity from Coopeguanacaste, RL´s renewable sources to reach 62%.
“This is the second wind farm we have constructed, with the Rio Naranjo Wind Farm only beginning operation in Bagaces five months ago. We have seen very positive results, prompting us to continue to work in the search of renewable energy sources. Our cooperative grows every day and is committed to provide energy generated to its clients with quality and efficiency,” explained Erick Herra, Manager of Projects´ Generation.
“Among the strategic objectives of the cooperative is diversifying our electricity matrix in order to leverage the advantages offered by each source, emphasizing sustainability and competitiveness,” Herra added.
The Social Management Plan developed during the construction of the Cacao Wind Farm had identified the communities´ particular needs due to the Farm´s direct and indirect influences. The Farm´s construction provided 300 direct and 700 indirect jobs.
“In its project´s design, the Cooperative maintains a solidifying philosophy, and as a result we are gratified when communities benefit by improving their infrastructure. We see that working together has borne fruit and we also praise the work done by its leaders,” added Miguel Gómez, General Manager of Coopeguanacaste, R.L.
In addition, Coopeguanacaste, RL has supported the communities with workshops for various projects. This includes road repair and restoration, electrification in areas where there was no electrical connection before the project, fresh water´s infrastructure construction in a two-kilometer stretch in Bernabela, sports and loca cemeteries facility improvements, aid to local environmental organizations, and improvements in recreational areas. In addition, during the construction of the project, the local economy was boosted with housing rents, warehouses and food services, among other improvements.
“Coopeguanacaste, R.L. celebrates 54 years of development within the communities. The great power that the company’s projects generate makes us feel extremely proud and confident of the many opportunities and benefits that they will bring,” Gómez added.
Coopeguanacaste has other power generation parks: Canalete and Bijagua hydroelectric plants in Upala and the Juanilama Solar Park, the largest in the country.