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The latest progress milestone comes just eight months after ground was formally broken on our Condor portfolio of projects, and keeps its one solar and three wind farms on course to begin supplying clean energy in 2021.
The build-out, which has created nearly 1,200 jobs across three regions of the country, has continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic under strict sanitary protocols.
This week, the first of 18 wind turbine foundations was laid at our Alena site in the southern Biobío region, which – with continuing excavation works and the construction of the lifting substation – is already halfway to completion.
In the north of the country, in the Antofagasta region, work to install 35 turbines at the Tchamma Wind Farm has now progressed to the 30% mark since the pouring of its concrete bases began on May 30.
And at the nearby Cerro Tigre site, roads have been laid and groundwork preparations are continuing for its eventual 44 wind turbines.
Meanwhile, the build out at Río Escondido – our first solar PV plant in Chile – is advancing, with all its stanchions in place in the Atacama desert and more than 370,000 solar panels having now arrived in the country.
Mainstream has managed to continue building through the COVID-19 restrictions by working closely with health authorities and the national safety body, La Asociación Chilena de Seguridad, to protect both workers and nearby communities.
When the Condor projects enter operation in 2021, they will generate 571 MW of clean energy, equivalent to the consumption demand of 680,000 homes, while avoiding the emission of more than 656,000 tonnes of C02 per year.
Hailing the progress in their construction, Manuel Tagle, General Manager of Mainstream Chile and Latin America, said: “Our company decided to invest in the country due to its great potential for the development of renewable energy, and with the conviction of lowering the prices of electricity generation in Chile.
“Today, our Condor portfolio – which reached US$580 million financial close last November and represents a total investment of US$830 million – is showing it is possible to be more sustainable and, at the same time, improve access to energy.
“With its construction we are helping to create 1,200 jobs when they are most needed, and when operational its average price of electricity generation will be 40% lower than that established in the previous tender.”
The company is working towards financial closure on the two other portfolios of the Andes Renovables platform, Huemul and Copihue, in the coming months.
Tagle added: “Chile’s commitment to decarbonise the energy matrix has become more important than ever. Despite the current economic situation in the country and the world, at Mainstream we fully trust in the development of our projects to achieve sustainable growth.”
In April, Chile became the first country in Latin America to present its new, more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions to reduced greenhouse gas emissions under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
Minister of Energy Juan Carlos Jobet said: “Renewable energies contribute to the decarbonisation plan of Chile and consequently to achieve the goal of Carbon Neutrality by 2050, at the same time that given the competitiveness they have achieved, they allow access to energy to a lower price.”
Andes Renovables, one of the largest wind and solar generation platforms in Latin America, represents an investment of more than US$1.8billion, which is equivalent to 16.7% of total direct foreign investment in Chile in 2019.
When fully operational, it will contribute more than 1.3 GW of clean energy to the National Electric System (SEN), ensuring sustainable energy at a low price for 1,725,000 Chilean homes.