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Atlas Renewable plans new US$450mn solar park in Chile

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, March 19, 2020
Atlas Renewable plans new US$450mn solar park in Chile

Atlas Renewable has filed plans to build a US$450mn solar park in northern Chile with environmental watchdog SEA.

The 854MW Alfa Solar photovoltaic plant will be located in Antofagasta region. The project involves building a new substation, also called Alfa Solar, and a 220kV transmission line connecting it to the existing Crucero substation.

The move highlights the future potential of Chile’s renewable push as part of the country’s plans to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050 and retire all its coal-fired power plants, the backbone of its power grid, before 2040.

As BNamericas reported previously, February saw submissions for large projects involving some US$2.54bn in new investments, including Colbún’s US$700mn Horizonte project, which would become Chile’s largest wind farm.

Last year, as the government announced an ambitious plan to retire several coal-fired plants over the next five years, Chile reached its 2025 goal of covering 20% of its energy needs with renewable generation. Most of its pipeline is now comprised of wind and solar projects, with run-of-the-river projects, CSP generators and biomass-powered units also contributing new capacity.

Economically, Chile is facing two simultaneous crises: the coronavirus outbreak and the fallout of last year’s anti-government riots and protests. Both situations have undermined local economic conditions and are expected to continue doing so down the line. However, the power sector’s focus on long-term contracts means it is better positioned than most industries.

The government is also moving ahead with an ambitious legislative agenda that includes a flexibility bill and an overhauled distribution bill to add more competitiveness to the power sector.

Another aspect affecting the local power sector is a reduced demand outlook. If Chile were to go into recession, the demand outlook for the regulated segment could deteriorate further, prompting authorities to tender less capacity in upcoming auctions for the regulated segment.

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