Plans for geothermal, solar and wind projects in Chile

The country’s diverse geographical features make it an obvious location for renewable energy projects, according to the global power company behind the projects.

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A European power company has plans to roll out more than US$570 million worth of clean energy projects in Chile over the next five years.

Enel Green Power, a division of Italian energy producer Enel, hopes to generate geothermal, solar and wind power plants to help meet Chile’s growing electricity demand. The company has had a presence in Chile since 2001 and transferred its regional offices to Santiago two months ago.

Enel CEO Francesco Starace told El Diario Financiero that the country’s unique geographic features made it a compelling location for renewable energy solutions.

“In Chile there is a very interesting combination of geothermal, solar and wind resources, along with an enormous hydro potential, an increasing electricity demand and a reliable regulatory framework,” he said. “There aren’t many places in the world that combine all of these elements and for that reason, we see a great opportunity for investing in interesting and top-class projects in this country.”

Enel Green Power is currently evaluating a geothermal plant in the north of Chile. The project is undergoing an environmental assessment and if given the green light, it would be the first plant of its kind in South America.

“At the same time, we will make an important investment in our first wind plant, subject to development approval, which will also be in the north of Chile,” Starace told El Diario Financiero. “We are also investing in a solar energy project in Cerro Pabellón, in the Atacama Region. The idea is to construct photoelectric panels to take advantage of the available solar energy to supply power to isolated areas that are difficult to connect with.”

The Italian power company is also considering a series of mini dam projects in the South that may go forward next year. Overall, Enel says it plans to invest US$2.1 billion in Latin America over the next two to three years.