In the middle of 2020, Ecuador’s Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources (MERNNR) issued a tender for a solar-plus-storage project that will be located on Baltra Island of the famous Galapagos Archipelago. Named Conolophus, this project is set to have a generation capacity of 14.8MW and a storage capacity of 40.9MWh. It will provide Baltra Island and the neighboring Santa Cruz Island with clean and renewable electricity. The Ecuadorian government currently aims to expand the share of renewables in the country’s energy mix to 68% by 2022. It also wants to phase out the usage of fossil fuels for power generation across the Galapagos as the archipelago is a natural heritage of an enormous importance.
As of now, only one project developer, GranSolar, has submitted a technical bid for the Conolophus project. Earlier, GranSolar proposed a solar-plus-storage project on the Galapagos for an estimated investment of US$45 million. It is an EPC firm based in Spain and has partnered up with Total EREN to work on this tender. Total EREN is an independent power producer that is based in France and specializes in renewable generation assets.
The committee that reviews the bids for the Conolophus project formally initiated the technical offer on March 5 and will later commence the economic offer on April 26. So far, the committee has only received the application paperwork from GranSolar.
In addition to the consortium of GranSolar and Total EREN, four other project developers were designated by the MERNNR as the qualified bidders for the Conolophus project. They are Canadian Solar Conolophus, Voltalia, Woojin Industrial System, and the consortium of Scatec Solar and Energy Flex. The five participants of the tender were shortlisted by the ministry last August. The announcement on the result of the tender process is scheduled for May 3. There is a chance that the tender will be terminated without a winning bid.
The incentives that Ecuadorian government provides for the Conolophus project include a PPA, some tax breaks, and other special privileges. It remains to be seen whether other authorized project developers besides GranSolar will put forth a technical or economic bid in the near future.