skip to content

MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Distributed Renewable Generation of Electricity in Argentina: a technology roadmap

J Tuccillo

Distributed Renewable Generation of Electricity in Argentina: a technology roadmap

In 2010, Argentina is experiencing an energy crisis with seasonal power outages and a growing 55% of fossil fuels in the electricity generation mix. Furthermore, between 600,000 and 1,200,000 people have no access to the power grid. Four core needs were detected, related to these problems: (a) the need for equity in the access to energy; (b) the need for security and resilience of grid power supply; (c) the need for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and (d) the need for institutional coordination for supporting new technological developments.

Considering these needs, this dissertation proposes a future vision in which the country has a diversified energy economy partly based on renewable embedded generation. What would Argentina need to work on, when, and with which resources? Who would the key institutional change agents for achieving this vision be?

The dissertation delivers some strategic insights as a draft proposal for the development of a distributed renewable energy industry in Argentina. It is based on a pro-active backcasting method, in contract with deterministic forecasting approaches. A Technology Roadmap is employed as the core methodology, which graphically sets the vision and defines the technological options. In addition, the strategy and main agents for leading the change are identified following Van de Ven's and Change's framework for understanding the emergence of new industries (1989). Both the vision and the roadmap are built considering the visions and perceptions from structured interviews to thirteen leaders and professionals in the Argentinean energy industry. A brief benchmark of some characteristics of the development of the Spanish distributed renewable energy industry is also performed.

The main results are that Argentina would firstly need to endow resources and work on making institutional arrangements in order to stimulate the growth of an off-grid renewable energy industry. This would be a pillar for building capability towards an interconnected small-scale renewable supply. Among other factors, social institutional and technological issues are addressed, related to the development and integration of dispersed renewable generation to the existing system.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.