Chile funds hydro studies, allots US$100 million to renewables

Chilean economic development officials announced October 5 that the government will allot US$100 million for non-conventional renewable energy projects and will fund studies of 18 hydroelectric projects.

Corporacion de Fomento de la Produccion (CORFO) convened the International Renewable Energy Investment Meeting in Santiago to offer investors a portfolio of at least 60 renewable energy projects, with at least half being run-of-river hydropower sites. (HNN 8/23/06)

CORFO Executive Vice President Carlos Alvarez announced the US$100 million would be in the form of soft credits to help companies develop projects that will diversify Chile’s power portfolio. The funds will be channeled through banks offering interest rates, grace periods, and amortization terms that are more favorable than average he said.

“This instrument grants up to US$5 million per project, so that it will decidedly support the beginning of an important number of initiatives,” Alvarez said.

The official said the government also would finance studies of 18 hydroelectric projects totaling 133 MW, as well as 16 wind plants of 139 MW and six biomass projects of 27 MW that were selected by CORFO from competing proposals.

Secretary General Pablo Serra of the Comision de Energia said the government would announce measures, including regulatory changes, to support the development of renewable energies in Chile, a fuel importer. The government seeks by 2010 to increase Chile’s renewables generation to 15 percent of its supply, compared to the current 2.4 percent.

“We are working on concrete things that will fulfill these basic principles,” Serra said.

With a responsibility to foster development of renewable energy, CORFO offers development incentives such as feasibility funding, investment match-making, soft loans, and a newly created equity fund to leverage creation of renewables investment funds based on three parts CORFO funding and one part private funding.

For information, contact Javier Garcia, Energy and CDM Investment Program Coordinator, Investment and Development Division, Corporacion de Fomento de la Produccion (CORFO), E-mail: jgarcia@corfo.cl; Internet: www.corfo.cl.

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