Largest site in Latin America granted

CHILE: A 607MW project in Latin America has been approved after the government awarded a 30-year licence to power firm Colbun.

Colbun buys power from Acciona Energia's Punta Palmeras project in Chile
Colbun buys power from Acciona Energia's Punta Palmeras project in Chile

The licence allows Colbun to occupy around 80 square kilometres of government land in the north of the country.

Colbun, which is controlled by Chile's influential Matte family, plans to invest almost $1 billion in the 607MW Horizonte site, which will be one of the largest onshore wind farms globally and one of Chile's largest energy projects.

The concession was awarded following a tender held by the Ministry of National Assets designed to encourage the installation of turbines on government land in Chile's northern Antofagasta region, which offers some of the best conditions for wind energy in the country.

Under the concession agreement, the company will have four years to complete the necessary studies and another three years to build it.

Colbun will pay annual rent of around CLP 528 million (around $825,000), most of which will go to finance social programmes in the region, said national assets minister Nivia Palma.

Colbun CEO Thomas Keller said the company is looking to diversify its generation portfolio towards alternative renewable energy sources.

Last year, the company acquired a series of assets from bankrupt "supermajor" developer SunEdison. In 2015 it awarded a contract to Acciona Energia to acquire electricity produced by the 45MW Punta Palmeras wind farm.

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