Miguel Alonso Romanini, regional director of SERCOTEC with Mauricio Vegurth

An independent olive oil producer in central Chile will start off 2012, which has been declared “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All” by the UN, with a bang thanks to support from the Technical Cooperation Service (SERCOTEC), a subcomittee of the Chilean Ministry of Finance.

Mauricio Vegurth has received funding from the organization to build two solar panels, a wind tower and a sustainable hydration system for his five-acre olive grove this year. SERCOTEC has ensured that these small but meaningful innovations will make a big impact on Vegurth’s productivity.

“Incorporating renewable energy into this and other kinds of agro-businesses helps to reduce costs, reduce pollution and increase production significantly, so I think Mauricio will be a great model to emulate,” said Miguel Alonso Romanini, regional director of SERCOTEC.

“It doesn’t seem like much at first glance—a wind tower and two solar panels—but it can really have a huge impact. It’s a step forward for this olive producer that will allow him to grow and produce up to 33 percent more oil,” Romanini added.

Vegurth’s grove is located in Maule, a scarcely populated and mostly rural region considered to be the heart of Chile’s wine and olive industries. In November the region hosted FENERMAULE 2011, a conference dedicated to renewable energy and the environment.

“By eliminating oil-based fuels I’ll be able to reduce my costs by 30 percent. I’ll no longer bother my neighbors with the motor noise or contaminate the area, and I’ll be able to produce an additional 200 liters of my premium oil,” Vegurth noted.

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