French utility studies six Chile hydro sites totaling 340 MW

French utility Suez is studying development of at least six hydroelectric plants in southern Chile, as well as a thermal power complex in central Chile, and two wind farms.

President Manlio Alessi of Suez Energy Andino told reporters in Calama March 25 that investment in the projects could total about US$3 billion.

Alessi said Suez is negotiating for water rights on four rivers in the Araucania Region with the intent to build six hydroelectric projects totaling about 340 MW. The project area is about 800 kilometers south of Santiago.

Depending on results of proposed feasibility studies, Alessi said a decision to proceed with the run-of-river projects would occur between 2009 and 2010.

Alessi also said Suez has bought a site near the central city of La Serena for construction of the coal-fired 540-MW Barrancones project. It also is developing a 700-MW coal plant in the Valparaiso Region.

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