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Solar Power Projects in Chile to be financed by IDB and Canadian Climate Fund

PROGRAM/PROJECT NEWS 

Pozo Almonte and Calama Photovoltaic Project in the Atacama Desert will supply energy to the country’s mining industry 

28 March 2013 – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has announced that it has approved a loan package for $41.4 million to private sector firms for the construction, operation, and maintenance of three photovoltaic solar power plants in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The financing consists of a loan for $20.7 million from the IDB’s ordinary capital and a loan for $20.7 million from the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas, which is administered by the Bank.

solar-powerThe plants in the Pozo Almonte and Calama Photovoltaic Project, which will have a peak generating capacity of 26.5 megawatts, will supply power to the Collahuasi and Codelco mining companies.

“This is one of the first large-scale solar energy projects in the region,” said Jean-Marc Aboussouan, chief of the Infrastructure Division of the IDB’s Structured and Corporate Finance Department, the Bank unit responsible for financing large-scale private sector projects.”This project has a lot of upside–it helps reduce the country’s carbon footprint and is in line with the priorities of both Chile and the Bank, as well as with the objectives of the Canadian Climate Fund.”

The project’s major benefits will be to help develop local energy sources to diversify Chile’s energy matrix, whose generating capacity is 75 percent dependent on imported fuels. It will also replace fossil fuels with a renewable energy resource for power generation for the mining industry, which consumes 18 percent of the country’s electricity and accounts for 19 percent of the country’s GDP, and reduce CO2 emissions by 56,000 tons annually.

The operation supports Chile’s National Energy Strategy, which aims to more than double the contribution of unconventional renewable energy to the country’s energy matrix in the next 10 years.  It is estimated that energy consumption in Chile will grow annually between 6 percent and 7 percent until 2020. The new IDB operation will help to bridge the gap between energy supply and demand by utilizing a local energy source that is clean, competitive, and abundant in the country, and can be developed quickly to boost growth of the Chilean economy.

The Structured and Corporate Finance Department (SCF) manages all IDB non-sovereign guarantee operations for large scale projects, companies, and financial institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. The department plays a catalytic role, helping mobilize third party resources through partnerships with commercial banks, institutional investors, co-guarantors and other co-financing entities for projects with high development impact.

The Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas is a fund established by the Canadian government and administered by the IDB to catalyze greater private sector investment in the field of climate change adaptation and mitigation.  See http://www.iadb.org/en/news/news-releases/2012-04-30/canadian-climate-change-fund-for-latin-america,9962.html.

More about the Pozo Almonte and Calama Photovoltaic Project in the Atacama Desert can be found at http://www.iadb.org/en/projects/project-description-title,1303.html?id=CH-L1069.

For more about IDB projects in Chile, go to http://www.iadb.org/en/countries/chile/chile-and-the-idb,1090.html.

Established in 1959, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is a source of multilateral financing for sustainable economic, social and institutional development programs and projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.  More information about the IDB is at www.iadb.org.  For more about IDB projects, visit http://www.iadb.org/en/projects/projects,1229.html.

Source: Inter-American Development Bank