Our trip to Chile’s IV Region has brought us up close and personal with Chile’s most high-profile wind energy projects.
Parque Eólico Totoral
Built by Norwegian developer SN Power, it contains 23 125m wind turbines, and generates 46MW of electricity. The project required an investment of $140,000,000 and opened in January 2010. The developers submitted the Declaración de Impacto Ambiental in 2007, and the project was approved in 2008.
The wind farm’s economic viability depends on carbon credits. The operation of this site implies a reduction of 65,000 tons of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to eliminating 15,000 cars from the streets of a city like Santiago. (Note: I am not sure if any plants were actually taken off the grid in response to the construction of this site. My guess is that this project adds extra electricity to the SIC, alongside electricity generated by other power plants – coal-fired, hydro, etc. Let me know if you have more information about this.)
I saw a Vestas truck driving around the property, suggests that these are Vestas turbines.
The scene was so dramatic that it made me wish that I had a fancy camera on hand to capture these images, instead of just my iPod Touch.
115 MW Ovalle Project
In the September 23 edition of El Día, La Serena’s regional paper, I read that Ovalle will have the biggest wind farm in South America. More than 20 wind turbine towers will be installed on the coast of the jurisdiction to generate clean energy. 115MW will be entered into the SIC. The developer, an American company called Pattern AEI, has been studying sites in this area since 2008, has determined that this site has the best wind in the zone. The company has held citizen consultations and has pledged to improve the roads in the area, which will benefit all residents.
100 MW Vestas Project in Limari
From the Press Release:
Vestas has started the construction of a fully owned wind project for 100 MW in Chile, the Talinay Oriente (‘Talinay East’) Wind Power Plant, which will be located in northern Chile in the Limari Province. This project, which will be constructed with the Vestas 2 MW platform, will at its completion be the largest wind power plant in Chile.
Vestas acquired full ownership of Talinay Oriente from a local developer. This is a strategic environmental decision following the Vestas principle “As green as it gets” and the company’s goal to continue increasing the share of renewable energy sources used to cover Vestas’ energy consumption worldwide and in the countries where Vestas operates, while contributing to reducing the carbon footprint. [more]
Barrick’s Parque Eólico Punta Colorado
Barrick is one of the world’s largest mining companies. The company invested $70 million in the 242- hectare site near the village of La Higuera. The first phase includes 10 turbines, and the complete project will include 18 turbines, and contribute 36MW into the SIC.
The slogan, “Un aporte de la mineria a las energias renovables en Chile” translates to “a contribution from the mining industry to the renewable energies in Chile.” The copywriter in me notes that this wording emphasizes the corporate social responsibility and public relations aspects of the project.
For more information about Chile’s renewable energy laws and electrical grids, read this post: Chile’s Renewable and Non-Conventional Energy (ERNC) Law: Translation and Notes.