Monday, August 5, 2013

Chilean government grants land concessions to 17 solar projects totaling 604 MW

The vast majority of applications and approved concessions have been granted for projects in Northern Chile
The Chilean government reports that the capacity of renewable energy projects for which it has approved land concessions has doubled in the last seven months to 1.49 GW, including 17 solar project totaling 604 MW.
The Ministry of National Assets says that all of these concessions have been awarded to foreign companies, including Enel Green Power SpA (Rome) Mainstream Renewable Power (Dublin, Ireland) and SunEdison Inc. (St. Peters, Missouri, U.S.).
“There has been an significant increase in the companies that hold concession contracts, right now near 1.5 GW,” stated Chilean Minister of National Assets Rodrigo PĂ©rez. “In these first months of the year there has good news for non-conventional renewable energy.”
The 24 approved wind and solar concessions represent 12.7 hectares of land.
Flood of applications
Most of the wind and solar projects with land concessions are located in Chile's northernmost regions, with 13 in the Antofagasta region, five in Tarapacá and five more in Atacama.
It is unknown how many of the 17 solar projects are solar photovoltaic (PV) and how many are concentrating solar power (CSP). However, as PV projects are much more common in the nation's pipeline Solar Server expects these to represent the majority if not all of the 17.
The Ministry of National Assets also reports that there are 265 applications for land concessions at last count, representing over 10 GW of projects. These include 255 solar projects, and applications are again concentrated in the three northernmost regions.
The Ministry notes that it is currently searching for a mechanism to deal with this volume of applications.
Chile: Many projects, not much construction
The land concessions provide an interesting view into the development of solar projects in Chile. More than 4 GW of solar projects have been approved by the nation's Environmental Assessment Service. Many of these have been approved for months or years, yet at last count only 69 MW were under construction.