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Wind leads Chile power tender

CHILE: A Mainstream Renewable Power joint venture and Spanish developer Ibereolica have won around 75% of the 1,200GWh of contracts in Chile's latest tender to supply regulated clients from 2017, as renewables edged out conventional power with lower prices.

Chile has 915MW operating wind projects, including the 80MW Canela II site
Chile has 915MW operating wind projects, including the 80MW Canela II site

Aela Energia, the joint venture between Irish developer Mainstream and investment fund Actis, said it will supply two thirds of the electricity by building two wind farms in central Chile with a combined installed capacity of 265MW.

The victory is particularly sweet for Aela after the company lost out on a contract in a previous tender held last December because of a mix-up in paperwork.

Aela owns the 33MW Cuel Wind Farm in the Bio-Bio region in central Chile, which was developed, built and is being operated by Mainstream.

"Mainstream is delighted to see that our investment over the past seven years in Chile has culminated in this significant win for Aela Energia in what has been a highly competitive tender process," said Mainstream's Chile general manager, Bart Doyle.

Ibereolica will supply electricity from the 170MW Cabo Leones wind farm in the northern Atacama region.

Wind and solar projects won all of the contracts on offer, despite coal and gas-based generators drastically cutting prices from previous tenders.

In the last tender, renewables won just 20%, with the rest going to conventional generators.

Prices on the 20-year contracts ranged widely, from $67/MWh bid by SCB II SpA, to $97/MWh from Spain's Abenegoa, which is building the Latin America's first thermo-solar plant in northern Chile.

The average price of $79.30/MWh was 40% drop from the $130/MWh in a tender held in 2013.

Energy minister Maximo Pacheco highlighted that the drop exceeded the target of a 25% drop in prices set last year in president Michelle Bachelet's Energy Agenda.

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