Argentina: $50 Million for Green Energy in Rural Areas

November 11, 2008

WASHINGTON, November 11, 2008 — The World Bank approved today US$50 million to support the Renewable Energy in the Rural Market Project (PERMER), an innovative program providing clean energy to rural communities in Argentina.
Through this new initiative, more rural communities will be receiving reliable electricity using renewable energy technologies. An additional 15,500 new solar home systems will be built, and 140 thermal systems and some 630 solar PV systems will supply electricity to rural schools.
Thirty solar powered water pumps and 2 biomass generation projects will also be supported through this additional funding.
Up to now, PREMER has provided access to electricity to 8,000 homes and 1,900 schools with primarily solar and wind energy technologies.
“This is something that most of us take for granted, but think of the impact that simply lighting can have for a rural health clinic, a community center, a student at home, or a small business”, said Pedro Alba, World Bank Country Director for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. “PERMER has proven to be an innovative and effective program for reaching poor rural communities throughout the country and providing them with electricity through green technologies”, he added.
Specifically, the Renewable Energy in the Rural Market Project will:

  • Provide rural areas of the participating provinces with reliable electricity supply using renewable energy technologies, when feasible;
  • Produce studies of energy alternatives;
  • Promote green business operations for rural energy in Argentina; and
  • Facilitate private sector participation in the provision of electricity in rural areas by improving provincial government capacities to regulate private sector participation.

According to Todd Johnson, Task Manager for the project, “Through PERMER, Argentina has put in place a new institutional and business model for providing remote rural communities with electricity for lighting, communication, and information technologies. The project has also demonstrated that renewable energy technologies such as solar PV systems are usually the least-cost way of providing electricity in remote areas.”
The Fixed-Spread Loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 15-year maturity and a 5-year grace period.

Media Contacts
In Buenos Aires
Yanina Budkin
Tel : (54-11) 4316-9724
In Washington
Gabriela Aguilar
Tel : (202) 473-6768