Mainstream inks US$1.4bn deal for wind and solar projects in Chile

7 Jun 2013

Droogfontein 50MW solar farm project in South Africa, which Mainstream Renewable Power is involved in

Eddie O’Connor’s Mainstream Renewable Power has forged a joint venture with the investor Actis for a US$1.4bn project to bring 600 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar farms to market in Chile by 2016.

Mainstream, which was set up by O’Connor in 2008 following the sale of Airtricity (now owned by SSE Renewables), develops, builds and operates wind and solar projects.

Globally, Mainstream has a development pipeline of over 17,000MW of renewable energy projects across four continents. The company is currently constructing wind and solar projects in Ireland, South Africa, Chile and Canada.

The joint venture to bring 600MW of wind and solar projects into operation in Chile by early 2016 will be split 40:60 in favour of Actis.

Right now Mainstream is in the process of developing a 3,500MW portfolio of wind and solar projects in Chile. It will sell the 600MW projects from its portfolio to Actis at financial close. The Dublin-based developer will continue to manage the construction and support the operation of the projects following the sale, however.

This will be Mainstream’s second collaboration with Actis. In 2012 Mainstream won three government tenders in South Africa for 238MW of wind and solar projects that are currently in construction. Actis invested US$100m in the projects, which are due to be operational in early 2014.

Commenting on the latest deal with Actis, O’Connor said this was an “ideal platform” to speed up the delivery of Mainstream’s projects in Chile.

“This platform is about meeting the needs of offtakers, particularly large-scale industrial consumers in Chile who need top-quality projects and competitive electricity prices,” he said.

In April, O’Connor spoke to about the potential to create a wind-turbine manufacturing hub in the midlands region of Ireland. Mainstream is developing the ‘Energy Bridge’ project that aims to export 5,000MW of wind power from Ireland to the UK, starting from 2017.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic