Chile's economic-development agency, CORFO, plans to study 53 renewable-energy projects, according to The Santiago Times. They include 29 wind-power, 14 hydraulic, five geothermal, two biomass and three biogas projects.
The country has been expanding its reliance on renewable-energy sources. Last year, Chile financed 40 renewable-energy projects, the newspaper reported. If the new facilities are built, they would give Chile a full 140 projects that would account for 800 megawatts of capacity. The country currently uses 12,000 megawatts from various sources and its energy needs increase about 6 percent per year, according to CORFO.
"Chile has a lot going for it," said Rob Wilder, CEO of WilderShares and manager of the WilderHill Clean Energy Index, which tracks the clean-energy sector. "It's got a large coastal strip, so wind comes to mind. It's sunny, so solar comes to mind. Latin America is growing populationwise, and it's right near a large population center in Brazil. They can move with alacrity and the cost of labor is not exorbitant."
Among the projects being built in Chile is the Canela wind park, the newspaper said. Eleven companies said last November they would invest $36 million in the park and, in August, Norway's SN Power announced it would invest $100 million to build 27 more wind turbines to generate 50 megawatts of power. The park is expected to start operating in 2009. Chile's Gustavo Pavez Group has a 20-percent stake in the SN Power project.
The British company Seawind also has filed an environmental-impact report for a 37-turbine wind farm it wants to build in Chile that would generate 74 megawatts of power at a cost of $150 million.