Mainstream powers US$860m deal to build wind farms in Chile

12 Dec 2014

Mainstream Renewable Power has emerged as part of the winning Aela Energía consortium that has been awarded a contract worth US$860m to build five wind farms that will power 440,000 homes in Chile.

The deal is the latest in a number of deals in which Mainstream is building renewable-energy projects around the world, including a giant wind farm off the coast of Scotland, as well as Ikea’s planned wind farms for Canada.

Aela Energía, the Chilean joint venture between Actis and Mainstream Renewable Power, was today awarded Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) for the supply of renewable energy from five wind farms in Chile with a combined generation capacity of 343 megawatts.

“Today is a very significant day for the Aela Energia, the Mainstream and Actis joint venture in Chile, and really puts it on the map as one of the leading renewable-energy companies in the market,” explained Barry Lynch, managing director for onshore procurement, construction and operations at Mainstream.

“It is the first time PPAs of this magnitude have been awarded in Chile for renewable-energy generation. Mainstream looks forward to managing this very ambitious construction programme once the projects reach financial close next year.”

Competitive tender

The agreements were awarded under a competitive tendering process run by the National Energy Commission (Comisiόn Nacional de Energίa). With a combined investment value of about US$860m, four of the facilities are expected to reach financial close during 2015 and commence construction shortly after. One of the facilities, the Negrete Wind Farm, has been in operation since early 2014.

The PPAs, which will supply 26 Chilean distribution companies across the country, are for a term of 15 years and will power about 440,000 households annually. In 2013, Mainstream and global pan-emerging market investor Actis announced a joint venture to deliver 600 megawatts of wind and solar projects into construction and operation in Chile by 2016.

The joint venture company Aela Energía is 40pc owned by Mainstream and 60pc by Actis. In addition to developing the projects, Mainstream will manage their construction and operation on behalf of the joint venture.

“Winning these five projects is a huge achievement. With this we are well on the way to building Chile’s leading supplier of competitive renewable power,” said Lucy Heintz, head of Renewable Energy at Actis.

“Actis sees wind power as a great solution for the emerging markets, in locations where optimal wind resources exist. We are looking forward to taking the next steps to deliver these projects into operation.”

Wind turbines image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years