Acciona Looking At Second Chilean Wind Farm in Clean Energy Surge

Acciona SA, one of the world’s top owners of renewable power plants, is looking to begin work on its second Chilean wind farm by the end of next year as part of a clean energy boom in the South American country.

The Alcobendas, Spain-based company, which began operations this year at the 45 MW Punta Palmeras wind farm in central Chile, now wants to develop a 100 MW to 150 MW project, said Jose Ignacio Escobar, who heads Acciona’s energy business in the country. His goal is to have 1,000 MW in Chile by 2020.

“We expect to keep growing at a pace of 100 to 200 MW a year,” Escobar said in an interview in Santiago on Dec. 3. “Next year we have high expectations in tenders and private clients and we’re aiming to become Latin America’s number one marketer of 100 percent renewable energy.”

Clean power has been soaring in Chile as the biggest copper-producing nation targets getting 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, excluding big hydro projects, by 2050, a seven-fold increase. President Michelle Bachelet’s government is seeking to curb greenhouse gas emissions and compensate for years of under-investment in the energy industry. The country’s Renewable Energy Association said clean renewable energy may account for about 40 percent of total generation by 2030.

In the past year, Acciona has seen rising interest from private clients looking to secure supply directly rather than via electricity distributors. This week, Google said it will use 80 MW of solar power from Acciona’s El Romero project in Chile’s Atacama region, the company’s first solar plant in the country that is scheduled to reach full capacity in September 2017.

Headcount at Acciona Energia in Chile rose to 70 employees this year from 12 in 2014 and probably will reach 100 by the end of next year.

©2015 Bloomberg News

Lead image: Wind farm in northern Chile. Credit: Shutterstock.

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