Hydropower in Italy’s investment plans for Chile

In an official visit to Chile’s president, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said his country wants to increase investment in Chile, especially in energy projects including hydropower.

“We’re going to make an effort to have more Italian presence and there are two sectors of particular interest: energy and infrastructure,” Prodi told reporters March 28, following his visit with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

Bachelet said the two countries were working to increase bilateral trade, which last year totaled $3.41 billion.

“We’ve identified areas such as thermal energy, micro-power plants of 50 to 60 MW, butane generation” Bachelet said.

Prodi said Italian power utility Enel plans to develop small and medium-sized hydroelectric plants and geothermal projects in Chile, which seeks to diversify its tight energy supplies.

Chile has announced it will spend more than US$5.5 million this year in development of non-conventional renewable energies and in energy conservation.

Last year, Chilean officials and an Italian investment fund announced plans to invest US$80 million in private development of 15 small hydroelectric projects totaling 65 MW, in Region X of southern Chile. (HNN 10/10/06) Italian hydropower equipment supplier Scotta and Italian developer Idroenergia formed the Italian investment fund with Chilean partner Idroaustral.

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