3TIER Announces Contract with IFC to Prepare 2 km Wind Map of Bolivia / Contract will complement “REmapping the World™” Initiative to identify global wind and solar energy resources
3TIER today announced a contract with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to develop and release a 2 km wind map for Bolivia. This contractual effort complements 3TIER’s ongoing “REmapping the World™” initiative. When it is completed later this year, the Bolivia wind map will be available for public view online and will identify the locations, availability and accessibility of the country’s wind resources. It is expected that availability of reliable resource data will help stimulate further development of wind as an energy option for a nation with a largely undeveloped wind resource and a significant rural electrification challenge.
The contract has been initiated as part of an ongoing partnership between IFC and Transportadora de Electricidad S.A. (TDE), Bolivia’s largest electricity transmission company and a recipient of IFC financing. Under its corporate social responsibility program, TDE, a subsidiary of the Spanish grid operator Red Electrica de España, is exploring the development of renewable energy resources to supply off-grid electricity and other energy services to isolated rural communities in the footprint of its high voltage transmission lines throughout Bolivia.
“By providing free access to high-resolution wind maps, 3TIER’s work in Bolivia will enable communities, government agencies, and developers to evaluate how effectively wind can contribute to meeting community power needs,” said Kenneth Westrick, 3TIER CEO and founder. “If we want developing nations to fully utilize their indigenous resources and to help mitigate global climate change, they need better information about their renewable energy resources.
“Bolivia is positioned perfectly to do this,” Westrick added. “The country has roughly 70 percent of its rural population off the grid and is faced with growing power demands. Bolivia is known to have regions with significant wind potential and this wind map will complete the critical first step for government agencies, electric cooperatives, developers or other entities seeking opportunities to invest in wind energy.”
IFC is committed to developing strategies that help improve and accelerate electricity access for rural communities. As part of its core development focus and climate change strategy, IFC seeks to help clients expand access to energy services in the developing world by using renewable energy wherever feasible. In support of TDE, IFC is expanding its role in renewable energy technologies, as a part of innovative off-grid solutions in Bolivia. At present, there are no commercial wind projects in Bolivia. IFC’s contract with 3TIER to produce a national wind map is expected to help stimulate future development of wind power projects.
“As global demand for energy grows and prices of fossil fuels increase, developing renewable energy resources locally becomes more vital to sustainable development,” said Rashad Kaldany, IFC Director for Infrastructure. “Access to energy is critical to alleviating poverty, and IFC aims to accelerate its investments in renewable energy in developing nations.”
“TDE’s view is that renewable energy sources can play a key role in the development of effective and sustainable stand alone energy services throughout Bolivia,” according to TDE´s Manager of Engineering Services, Miguel Aramayo. “Our sponsorship and support, together with IFC, for the development of Bolivia’s first ever meso-scale wind map, is a clear signal of our intention to continue our efforts in support of renewable energy based initiatives, and the development of new technologies that can help provide energy services reliably and cost-effectively to remote rural communities.”
3TIER unveiled its complementary REmapping the World initiative in March by launching the first-ever, global 15 km resolution wind map, available to view for free on the Internet. The map provides enough resolution so countries and organizations can determine the potential wind resource at a regional level and determine what type of policies should be implemented to encourage renewable energy development.
Developers generally need 2 to 5 km resolution view to make capital investments in commercial wind development. Currently, 3TIER’s FirstLook™ Assessment tool provides a 5 km map for wind in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and a 10 km solar map for the continental United States. FirstLook provides a fast, cost-effective, Web-based assessment of wind resources.
“FirstLook Assessment is a proven, highly accurate tool that eliminates that costly, time-consuming first step of prospecting for wind or solar resources – and delivers a report in PDF form via the Internet within minutes,” Westrick said.
Westrick said 3TIER decided to map the world at its own cost “because we strongly believe that information about renewable energy resources will give people the power to make better decisions regarding the assessment, implementation and operation of renewable energy projects.”
Over the next 18 months, 3TIER plans to continue to map the world for wind at 5 km, country by country, based upon a priority order that takes into account such issues as renewable energy policies, availability of the wind resource and economic development status.
“Communities in developing countries finally will have – at little or no cost – the information to help them decide whether renewable energy can power their communities,” Westrick said. “These maps will help leaders and developers throughout the world assess their renewable energy potential and make important policy and economic decisions as a result.”
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