Data Insights: Chile leads LatAm's 2023 renewables buildout

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, February 02, 2023
Data Insights: Chile leads LatAm's 2023 renewables buildout

Chile will be the fastest growing Latin American country for renewable energy project activity in 2023 as it continues its solar and wind boom, according to BNamericas data.  

Developers in the Southern Cone country are expected to start construction work on renewable power projects (excluding hydropower) totaling 9,240MW of capacity, up from 6,105MW in 2022. 

Solar is seen accounting for 5,940MW, compared to 4,524MW in 2022, while 3,300MW are forecast to come from wind farms, up from 1,581MW last year. 

Overall capital expenditure on Chile's renewable projects is expected to reach US$7.95bn. The three largest developments, in capex terms, are all located in the sun-scorched and windswept plains of the Atacama desert in the northern Antofagasta region.

The biggest is the 1,203MW ERNC Antofagasta complex being built by Spain's Grupo Ibereólica in the Taltal municipality. 

Budgeted at US$874mn, the project envisages 675MW of photovoltaic solar and 528MW of wind capacity, to be connected to the grid via a new 500kV transmission line and substation. The construction phase is projected to last 42 months.  

At number two is the 862MW Terra Energía renewable energy park, also in Taltal, earmarked to require US$750mn of investment. Owned by Energía Eólica Paposo, it will boast 512MW of photovoltaic solar and 350MW of onshore wind capacity, and is to be served by new 500kV transmission infrastructure. 

Meanwhile, ERNC Loa is slated to start work on its eponymous 518MW solar and wind park at Tocopilla. Work is due to begin in October with overall investment seen reaching US$495mn.

Appetite for renewable energy investment in Chile has been boosted by a stable regulatory landscape and government efforts to expand transmission and storage infrastructure. 

An energy bill currently under review in congress seeks to guarantee a minimum of 60% of power from non-conventional renewable energy by 2030. 


Among the raft of energy companies seeking to tap opportunities in Chile is Miami-based Atlas, which is currently working on a 417MW portfolio of three wind projects, known collectively as Alpaca.  


"We are convinced that the government will do everything necessary to promote certainties rather than doubts to enable investments and the development of clean energy in the country," Atlas Chile CEO Alfredo Solar told BNamericas in September.

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"We see it as very necessary on the part of the authorities to grant security to the construction of projects in the Araucanía area, speed up permitting processes – which are becoming more and more complex – and anticipate transmission needs, since their delay generates enormous risks to generators." 


The second busiest country for new renewable energy developments in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2023 will be Brazil, which is due to see 8,638MW of solar and wind capacity enter the construction stage. The figure, which compares to 10,082MW in 2022, includes 5,493MW of solar and 3,145MW of wind.


Brazilian power regulator Aneel sees Brazil adding 10,300MW of new power generation capacity in 2023, around 90% coming from new solar and wind plants (some of them have already started construction phases in 2022).

Colombia, a late starter to the renewables race, is expected to begin construction work on 1,753MW of solar and wind compared to 1,871MW last year.


Mexico is seen breaking ground on 964MW (down from 2,981MW in 2022), Argentina on 474MW (down from 1,151MW) and the Dominican Republic on 44MW (down from 384MW).

Overall, developers across the region are expected to start work on renewable energy projects totaling 22,181MW this year, of which 13,606MW are solar and 8,574MW wind. The forecast compares to 24,028MW in 2022 (16,701MW solar, 7,328MW wind).

The slight decrease coincides with investor caution amid slowing global economic activity, ongoing supply chain bottlenecks and a growing shift toward distributed generation projects, which were not included in research for this article. 

NOTE: the universe of renewable projects used for this analysis includes wind and solar utility scale plants which in 2022 started pre-construction or construction phases (and the change in stage was confirmed by our research temas); and plants which, according to our research will start pre-construction or construction phases in 2023. All the data comes from BNamericas' proprietary projects database. The information on stages and dates is published or given to our researchers by project developers, contractors and government agencies.

(Additional reporting by Felipe Espinoza)


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