Argentina seeks JV with M'sia on renewable, nuclear energy

Nur Ashikin Abdul Aziz & Bernama

Modified 13 May 2019, 6:04 am

Argentina is seeking a joint venture and cooperation with Malaysia in the field of renewable energy and the peaceful use of nuclear energy, says the country's Vice-president Gabriela Michetti.

Michetti said Argentina sees great potential in renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, and has made large investments in the sector in the past.

"The important aspect is that Argentina is now focusing a lot on our renewables. We have made large investments in this sector. 

"However, some of these investments were lost due to bad policies of the previous government," she told Bernama in a recent exclusive interview.

The Argentine vice-president was in Kuala Lumpur for a five-day official visit since May 2. This is the first official visit from Argentina in 22 years, since former President Carlos Menem came to Malaysia in 1990 and 1997. 

The Argentinian embassy was opened in Kuala Lumpur in 1983, while Malaysia opened its embassy in Buenos Aires in 1989.

The World Energy Council lists Argentina as presently possessing more than a dozen wind parks, located in six different provinces, with an aggregate installed capacity of 29.76MW.

It has been estimated that Patagonia’s wind potential, south of the 42nd Parallel, represents more energy than that contained in the whole of Argentina’s annual crude oil production. 

Argentina is also experienced in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, Michetti said, considering that the country’s first commercial use of nuclear power began over 45 years ago in 1974, and that the South American country has exported nuclear reactors to the Netherlands, Australia and many other countries.

Currently, it has three nuclear power plants that generate five per cent of the country's electricity.

Michetti added that Argentina, through its National Institute of Applied Research (Invap) provides the expertise for the energy sector, especially in nuclear energy.

Invap, established in 1976, specialises in the research and construction of nuclear reactors, radio-isotopes, and other nuclear-related projects. It has built nuclear reactors in Argentina, Algeria, Australia, Egypt and Peru.

Michetti said the private sector, local and foreign investors have realised that Argentina under President Mauricio Macri had implemented security, transparency and corporate responsibility in tender processes for businesses.

After Macri assumed the presidency in 2015, he initiated a series of reforms, including the promotion of renewable energy and transparency in the bidding of contracts.

"Responsibility in the biddings, no corruption, so that everyone knows nothing is hidden. These companies see this as an Argentinian compromise to be honest and transparent. 

"So, investors can trust us. Therefore, companies have started to come in," she said.

Agro-based industries

Meanwhile, Michetti said Argentina and Malaysia could also explore collaboration in agro-based industries, especially considering the former’s technological advancement in the sector.

"It is not only traditional agricultural production that we are looking at," she said.

"We can supply the commodities, you can then reprocess and manufacture and even re-export them, and it will be a win-win situation for both countries.

"It’s not only corn or maize, but it’s also the bio-genetics and bio-technologies that can be applied to its production."

Concerning agro-based industry, Michetti said that Malaysia and Argentina can work on the segment of animal feed, as the former requires an increase in supply and the latter is established in the activity.

"I think there are a lot of things we can do together, because we have the same vision. I think this is an ideal moment to strengthen the relationship. We need to start today to build our future", she said.

- Bernama

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