Chile's state owned copper company Codelco has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for US companies to undertake a feasibility study for a 37.5 MW wind farm near Calama in Region II of the country. It will award the contract in mid May, says Codelco's Santiago Torres. The study, to take 12 months, will indicate the size of the required capacity and investments, Torres says. Codelco initially estimated an investment of around $37.5 million, of which imported equipment would account for 25-30%. The facility would have 50, 750 kW turbines at the site, which has average wind speeds of 8 m/s. If the study proves the viability of the project, Codelco will issue an international tender for equipment and project construction, which would start in 2001 with first generation later that year. The US government's Trade & Development Agency (TDA) has granted $275,000 for the study, and while Codelco is not obliged to buy from US suppliers, "Our hope is that they see fit to buy from the US," TDA's Chile representative Alberto Angulo says. Power from the project could supply Codelco's Chuquicamata or Radomiro Tomic mines, or the northern interconnected grid. Both Colorado based Ecoenergy International Corp and Enron Wind Corp have undertaken pre-feasibility studies at the site, Torres adds.
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