Mainstream raises US$70m for Chile wind farm

1 Feb 2013

Eddie O'Connor, CEO, Mainstream Renewable Power

Eddie O’Connor’s Mainstream Renewable Power has raised US$70m for a 33 megawatt (MW) wind farm it has started building in southern Chile. The wind farm is expected to be up and running by September.

O’Connor, who was one of the keynote speakers at last week’s Green Growth Forum in Dublin, set up Mainstream in 2008 following the sale of Airtricity to E.ON and Scottish and Southern Energy for €1.8bn.

Work has already started on the construction of the Negrete Cuel wind farm in southern Chile. According to Mainstream, the wind farm should be fully operational by September.

The developer has secured US$70m in financing, with US$52m being provided by China Development Bank. The remaining US$18m is being provided by Mainstream’s own equity, O’Connor has confirmed.

The project has been financed without a power purchase agreement and Mainstream will sell the energy directly to the spot market.

Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Goldwind will supply the turbines for the wind farm.

At the minute Mainstream is developing 2,300MW of wind and solar projects in Chile. The company has been active in the Chilean market since 2009, when it partnered with local Chilean developer Andes Energy.

Mainstream is also developing solar and wind farms in Ireland and South Africa, as well as almost 8GW of offshore wind projects in England, Scotland and Germany.

O’Connor said the Chile wind farm is Mainstream’s fifth project to go into construction across three continents in a six-month period.

“Since entering the Chilean market back in 2009, Mainstream has built a very strong and growing portfolio of wind and solar projects, many of which are in the mid- to late-development stages,” he said.

Here in Ireland, Mainstream is spearheading the Energy Bridge project, which has a firm grid connection to export 5,000MW of wind energy from Ireland to the UK’s National Grid from 2017.

Check out the videos here from last Friday’s Green Growth Forum, where O’Connor talks about the opportunity to harness Ireland’s wind energy resources:

Green Growth Forum – Mainstream Renewable Power CEO Eddie

Green Growth Forum – Eddie O’Connor, CEO of Mainstream 

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic