Chile announces investment in 12 new hydro projects

Chile’s economic development agency announced nearly US$378 million will be invested in 16 non-conventional renewable energy projects, including 12 hydro projects, in 2008 and early 2009.

Officials of Corporacion de Fomento de la Produccion (CORFO) announced the plans at its second international renewable energy investment meeting November 14-16 in Santiago, Business News Americas reported. (HNN 10/3/07)

CORFO said the 12 run-of-river hydro plants, three wind projects, and one biomass plant are to add 250 MW to Chile’s power system. Currently 461 MW is supplied by non-conventional renewables, mostly hydro.

CORFO Executive Vice President Carlos Alvarez said all the projects received pre-investment assistance or lines of credit from CORFO.

Among the new projects is Ecoenergy’s 36-MW Laja hydroelectric project being developed in the Bio Bio Region and the 6-MW Puclaro hydro project in Coquimbo Region.

The agency also said it will launch a new investment program in 2008 that will contribute up to US$4.2 million. Co-funded by a German cooperation fund, the program is to provide up to US$150,000 to project organizers for pre-investment studies in non-conventional energy projects.

CORFO also is to create two new credit lines in the first half of 2008 totaling US$110 million to help develop new projects and energy efficiency. They are to provide project financing of up to US$10 million per project at favorable interest rates.

The second International Renewable Energy and CDM Investment Meeting offered investors a portfolio of renewable energy projects to discuss financing options. Project technologies included mini-hydropower, biogas, geothermal, and wind energy projects. Investors were able to meet promoters of five Chilean renewable energy or Clean Development Mechanism projects.

With a responsibility to foster development of renewable energy, CORFO offers development incentives such as feasibility funding, investment match-making, soft loans, and an equity fund to leverage creation of renewables investment funds based on three parts CORFO funding and one part private funding. Additionally, the Chilean government has set a target to supply 15 percent of additional demand from non-conventional renewable sources up to 2010.

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