Copper company wants wind and carbon credit exchange

Banking on a future possibility for a carbon credits exchange, Chile's state-owned copper company, Codelco, has commissioned a $200,000 feasibility study for a wind farm in Region II of the country's north. The company expects to sign a contract for the study with US wind power developer SeaWest soon, says Codelco's Santiago Torres. The study will take about a year and will verify wind data Codelco already has, as well as examine the technical and economic feasibility of the project. Initial project plans are for up to 37.5 MW, which would either serve Codelco's own installations at Chuquicamata or Radomiro Tomic or be sold to the grid. Codelco's industrial operations are concentrated in Regions II and VI, but it has mining properties throughout the country and has more plans for possible wind projects at several locations, Torres says. The company wants to develop the Region II project first to see how it progresses, however. Apart from wind, Codelco hopes to develop solar power, Torres says, stressing that the development of either power source depends on the implementation of a carbon credits exchange. As power generation is not Codelco's key business, says Torres, the company will not develop the projects without extra financing such as the credits, without which the projects would not be profitable.