Construction begins on Chile’s largest wind farm

Source: Pattern Energy Group LP 

Parque Eolico El Arrayan (PEEA) has begun construction of its 115 MW wind power project located approximately 400 km north of Santiago on the coast of Chile. Once completed, El Arrayan will be Chile's largest wind power project, providing enough clean and renewable energy to serve up to 200,000 local homes each year without producing any emissions. 

The sponsors of PEEA – AEI, Pattern Energy Group (Pattern), and Antofagasta Minerals SA (AMSA) – have also completed financing for the project. The $245 million innovative structure provides financing for the two-year construction period, value-added-tax, liquidity reserves and a 15-year term period. Funding commitments were arranged by Export Kredit Fonden through its ELO Scheme, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Credit Agricole. Chile's Corpbanca provided the VAT facility. 

"El Arrayan is our first wind project in Chile, marking Pattern's expansion into Latin America. Chile is a market that we find very exciting with a world-class economy and a welcoming culture. Chile's limited indigenous energy resources make it an ideal locale for renewable projects which are a local resource and which add to the economy rather than take from the economy," said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy. "El Arrayan will make use of strong coastal winds to deliver renewable energy into the central SIC power grid. The project will provide the largest contribution of renewable energy toward meeting Chile's goal of generating 20% of its energy from non-conventional renewable sources by 2020. El Arrayan will create jobs, local-service company opportunities and economic investments, while establishing important energy infrastructure to help meet the needs of the growing Chilean economy." 

Currently under construction, the El Arrayan Wind project is expected to achieve commercial operation in early 2014. The project will create 175-200 jobs during construction and up to 15 permanent positions once operational. The project is being constructed by Skanska Chile. 

The El Arrayan Wind project will utilize 50 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines, which Pattern is also installing at its wind projects currently under construction in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Pattern will also operate the project after its construction. 

In November 2011, PEEA entered into a 20-year renewable power sale and energy services agreements with Minera Los Pelambres, a mining company controlled by AMSA, for the sale of energy produced by PEEA.
Compared to a coal-fired power plant, the electricity produced annually by the El Arrayan wind project will offset more than 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of the annual carbon footprint of more than 70,000 Chileans, and will conserve enough water to supply more than 11,000 Chileans.

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