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Cerro de Hula (CdH)
Country: Honduras
Market: Latin America
Date of original investment: 2010
Deal type: Greenfield
Harnessing Honduran wind power
Wind speeds in Honduras average eight metres a second. That’s fast. So fast in fact, that wind is one of the country’s most reliable renewable resources, able to generate electricity through clean, green and sustainable means.  And the faster the wind blows, the more electricity can be produced. Further, the windy season in Central America is complementary to the rainy season, which means that when the wind is blowing the system can ‘save’ power in the hydroelectric plants and generate power from wind instead.  The power ‘saved’ in the dams can then be used when the wind is not blowing as fast and the rainy season starts.

Cerro de Hula (CdH) is Honduras’s first wind farm. It’s also one of the largest in Central America with 51 turbines punctuating the 16,000 acre site. Located 17km south of Tegucigalpa, Honduras’s capital, in the municipalities of Santa Ana and San Buenaventura, it began producing electricity in December 2011. Generating 102MW, some 6% of the country’s power, it is contracted to the Honduran national utility company, Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica, under a  20-year power purchase agreement. The wind farm was completed ahead of time and on budget, and officially inaugurated by the President of Honduras, Mr. Porfirio Lobo Sosa, in February 2012.

In 2010, Actis-backed Globeleq, acquired a controlling stake in Energías Renovables de Mesoamérica S.A (ERM), an operator and developer of wind projects across Central America, and funded the construction of Cerro de Hula. It’s an investment with huge prospects, not only because Honduras has such a strong wind resource, but because of the competitive price of wind in a power sector where heavy fuel oil traditionally sets the cost of power.

When operational, Cerro de Hula will supply Honduras’s national utility company, Empresa Nacional de Energia Electrica, under a 100 MW, 20-year power purchase agreement. ERM are also working towards registering the wind farm as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project under the Kyoto Protocol, enabling it to benefit from the sale of carbon credits in the market.