Chile

Chile

Armed gang attacks wind farm in southern Chile as political violence continues

An armed gang has tried to attack the 8.4MW Las Peñas wind farm in southern Chile’s Biobio region - the second attempt to damage a Chilean wind farm in recent months.

Poliical tension has been rising in the Araucania and Biobio regions of Chile since last October (pic credit Raimund Andree)
Poliical tension has been rising in the Araucania and Biobio regions of Chile since last October (pic credit Raimund Andree)

Police were called to the site shortly before midnight local time on 12 July. A security guard said he had been forced to flee by a group of ten masked individuals carrying firearms. The group also set light to a nearby building.

Large parts of Biobio and the neighbouring Araucania region have been under a state of emergency since October last year, as police and military tried to crack down on a wave of arson attacks and shootings. These attacks have mostly been directed against forestry companies, farms, and police outposts. Seven people have died as a result of the violence so far this year, up from six in the whole of 2020.

Militant groups claiming to represent the indigenous Mapuche people have claimed responsibility for the majority of the attacks.

Opposition has also grown to wind energy projects in the area, with a Mapuche community filing an injunction against forestry firm Arauco’s 215MW Viento Sur project, which was approved by authorities in March.

In May, police were called to investigate after a gang attempted to set light to barriers and safety signs at Statkraft’s 46MW Los Cerrillos - Torsa wind farm, which is under construction near Litueche in central Chile.

In the wake of the attack, Statkraft said it had maintained a continuous dialogue with local people and had held nearly 100 meetings with them since it acquired the project in 2019.

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