Italy constructor takes stake in Chile’s 111-MW Chacayes

Italian construction company Astalda S.p.A. announced May 25, 2009, that it agreed to take a 27.3 percent share of the 111-MW Chacayes hydroelectric project being built by Australian developer Pacific Hydro in Chile’s Cachapoal River Basin.

Pacific Hydro awarded a US$282 million engineering-procurement-construction contract to Astaldi in 2008 to build Chacayes. (HydroWorld 9/24/08) That agreement also called for Astaldi to build two additional hydro projects totaling 284 MW for Pacific Hydro.

In its latest announcement, Astaldi said it would enter into the project financing of Pacific Hydro Chacayes S.A., the special purpose vehicle charged with developing, constructing, and operating the project. Total investment in the project is about US$450 million of which 50 percent will be financed by equity. A total of US$172 million has been subscribed by a pool of four international banks plus a bridge loan.

“Pacific Hydro, Australia’s leading renewable energy company, is at present involved in the development of three other hydroelectric projects in the Cachapoal Valley valued at more than US$1 billion, which will lead to the construction of additional hydroelectric power plants,” Astaldi said. “In this light, Astaldi highly values the beginning of a durable partnership with Pacific Hydro.”

Chacayes is to include intake structures, desanding bays, seven kilometers of canals, a head pond, six kilometers of tunnels, and two 55.4-MW turbine-generators. Upon completion, expected in 2011, the project is to generate 557 gigawatt-hours annually.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet joined Pacific Hydro last October to lay the first stone of the project. (HydroWorld 10/10/08)

Astaldi’s construction contract also included an agreement in which Astaldi is to build two additional hydro projects for Pacific Hydro, 184-MW Nido de Aguilas on the Cortaderal River and 98-MW Las Lenas on the Alto Cachapoal and Las Lenas rivers, for a total value of US$600 million.

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