90-megawatt wind farm comes online in Northern Chile

January 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News


Enel Green Power’s Valle de los Vientos in the Antofagasta Region plugged into national grid, more projects planned for Italian energy giant.

90-megawatt wind farm comes online in Northern Chile

Chile had a 190 MW wind power capacity in 2012. Alex Abian / Flickr

Forty five wind turbines, each with an annual generating capacity of 2 megawatts (MW), were plugged into the national grid when the Valle de los Vientos wind farm became operational Friday, according to Enel Green Power (EGP).

The 90-megawatt, US$170 million plant in the Antofagasta Region comes after EGP inaugurated its Talinay wind farm in early 2013, which has a similar generating capacity.

The subsidiary of Italy’s Enel is also constructing the 99-megawatt wind farm Tatal, as well as its first Chilean solar park, Diego de Almagro. It is expected to begin construction on the country’s first geothermal power plant next year in Ollagüe, which borders Bolivia in Northern Chile, to be operational in 2015.

Wind energy in Chile has increased considerably since the first wind farm, the 2 megawatt Alto Baguales, was installed in the Aysén Region of Southern Chile in 2001. According to the Wind Power database, Chile was capable of producing 20 MW of wind power in 2007, a figure which increased to 190 MW by the end of 2012.

However the country is still heavily reliant on imported fossil fuels — which accounted for 75 percent of the nation’s energy needs in 2011, according to the National Energy Commission (CNE). Currently only five percent of Chile’s energy needs comes from renewable energy.

The country committed to meeting 20 percent of its energy needs with renewables by 2025 under President Sebastián Piñera, and President-elect Michelle Bachelet has expressed her intent to pursue non-conventional energy such as geothermal.

By Charlotte Duffield (duffield@santiagotimes.cl)
Copyright 2013 – The Santiago Times

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