Chile is about to take advantage of its renewable resources in a big way. That’s thanks to a new, $1.4 billion deal between Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power and pan-emerging market investor Actis to install 600 megawatts of wind and solar projects in Chile by early 2016.
In making the partnership, Actis and Mainstream join a growing number of companies that are installing large solar projects in this long, skinny country. Some other companies installing large PV projects in the country include First Solar, which has a 1.5 gigawatt project pipeline there; SunEdison, which has at least 150 megawatts of projects there; and Element Power, which has 300 megawatts of projects. Many of these projects won’t be grid-based projects, but will support mining or other industrial scale processes.
“This platform is about meeting the needs of offtakers, particularly large-scale industrial consumers in Chile who need top quality projects and competitive electricity prices,” said Mainstream Renewable Power CEO Eddie O’Connor. “The market is looking for independent power producers with strong financial backing, expert local knowledge and experience in delivering operational assets. This joint venture very much ticks all of these boxes.”
Under the joint company, which is majority owned by Actis and 40 percent owned by Mainstream, created by the partnership, Mainstream will build the projects. Upon their completion Actis will take ownership and Mainstream will continue to operate and maintain them.
“Actis is very happy to be making our first major investment in Chile,” said Actis Senior Partner Paul Fletcher. “We have an excellent track record in providing conventional and renewable energy in the emerging markets.”
Though it’s Actis’s first project in Chile, the company has been active throughout Latin America. “Our commitment to Latin America, where we have successful investments in educational, financial services and retail, reflects our confidence and ambition for these dynamic markets,” Fletcher said. It’s also investing in projects in other emerging markets like Asia and Africa.
In fact, Mainstream and Actis partnered in a $100 million deal to develop 238 megawatts of wind and solar projects in Africa in 2012. The projects are currently in construction. “Mainstream is a trusted and respected partner and we are pleased to be working together again,” Fletcher said.
Mainstream has been active in Chile since 2008 and has portfolio more than 3,500 megawatts of wind and solar projects there that are in development stages. Of that at least 335 megawatts are in four named solar projects. “This is the ideal platform for Mainstream to accelerate the delivery of our 3,500 megawatts of projects in Chile at a significant scale,” O’Conner said.