Interview by journalist Nanda Singh to Ingener’s Business Development Manager in Argentina, Alejandro Hunko.
Ingener, a 20-year-old company first established in Uruguay, has a sound track record in turnkey projects. Its services range from high voltage electrical substations to generation projects, such as thermal substations, wind farms and photovoltaic power stations.
Over five years ago, the company began its expansion strategy in the region and today is present in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. In this time, it has built around 700 MW in electromechanical and civil infrastructure for photovoltaic solar plants and wind farms, 120 MW of which are supervised by their own specialists under operation and maintenance contracts.
Its staff is made up of more than 700 employees dedicated to projects, and operation and maintenance services. Many of them kept working during the Covid-19 pandemic, as their work was considered “essential activity”.
Energía Estratégica contacted Alejandro Hunko, Ingener’s Business Development Manager, to learn on his strategy during the quarantine in different strategic areas for the company and what are the company’s expectations in the event of a market recovery.
How are you facing the corona virus crisis?
Ingener is a company with diversified businesses and while this is a global crisis, not all markets react the same. Our presence in several countries and in various areas of activity, many of them essential, allows us to go through this crisis with high expectations of a quick recovery.
As it happens, in Argentina the construction of electrical infrastructure is an essential activity, so we kept working in our most important project, which is the upgrade of the 500kV Santa Cruz Norte substation for interconnecting Cañadón León wind farm to the national grid.
You placed a large bet on Argentina in 2016. Do you feel that the results were as expected?
Ingener came on the Argentinean market along with customers who bet on its experience and know-how but it was an unknown company for the local market. In less than five years we have built the electrical infrastructure of four wind farms (Genoveva I and II, La Banderita and Villalonga), two thermal power plants for Araucaria Energy (Matheu and Luján) and one for APR at Pilar. Without taking into account the work we are currently performing for YPF in Cañadón León.
To sum up, in a very short time we have become an ideal and experienced supplier for the construction of electrical infrastructure in the country. When the electricity market in general, and the renewable energy market in particular, get back to their growth path, we will be positioned already as benchmark partners for large developers who bet on the Argentine market.
Meanwhile we are actively growing in the region from Argentina, securing opportunities in Bolivia and Peru. In addition to the important support lying in the strength the company has in its country of origin, of course.
In recent years, INGENER has achieved an outstanding participation in the main electric power generation and transmission projects in Uruguay. Having performed over 400MW of renewable energy generation projects (wind farms and photovoltaic power plants) and ten high-voltage substations to connect industries or generation plants, or to strengthen the transmission network, INGENER has become an Uruguayan benchmark in the execution of EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contracts.
Today Uruguay presents an attractive market again with several projects in progress and others under consideration.
What economic and technical advantages do you offer your clients to have such sustained growth?
Our work is focused on providing our customers the highest quality and reliability in their facilities while meeting construction deadlines.
Through our engineering, construction, operation and maintenance units, Ingener has the required competitive advantages to become a strategic partner for our clients in turnkey projects. In addition, the execution of all the stages of a project is carried out according to Ingener management system quality and safety procedures, following standards: ISO 9001,
OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001.
So, are you optimistic despite the crisis?
INGENER has developed an identity in the market that is synonymous with work, good technique and strong commitment to our customers. We are long-term players, we are growing and although the situation is very difficult, people will consume electricity again and countries will have to regain lost ground in the development of their infrastructures.
We trust our people completely; our professionals have made us renowned for our quality and for meeting deadlines. We maintain our vision of becoming an international company competing side by side with the main engineering and construction companies for the region's energy projects.