By Nick Gilbert
Construction of Chile's largest wind power project, Parque Eolico El Arrayan (PEEA) has commenced.
The 115 MW wind project is located about 400 km north to Santiago, coastal Chile. The clean energy generated after completion will be sufficient to power nearly 200,000 local houses per year and emissions are not produced.
Skanska Chile is constructing the wind project. Antofagasta Minerals, Pattern Energy Group and AEI have sponsored the project. The $245 million novel structure offers financing for a 15-year term period, liquidity reserves, value-added-tax and two-year construction period. Further, funds were arranged through Credit Agricole, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking and Export Kredit Fonden under its ELO Scheme. The VAT facility is offered by Chile's Corpbanca.
The wind project is anticipated to begin commercial operations from 2014. Nearly 175-200 jobs will be created while constructing the project and 15 jobs after becoming operational.
About 50 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines will be used for the project. The turbines from Siemens are also installed at Pattern’s other wind projects under construction in Puerto Rico, Canada and the US. After construction, Pattern will operate the project as well.
During November 2011, PEEA has signed a 20-year renewable power sale and energy services contracts with a mining company, Minera Los Pelambres, for purchasing the power produced.
The electricity generated from the wind project will compensate over 300,000 MT of carbon dioxide in comparison to coal-fired power plant. Further, it is equal to the carbon footprint left by over 70,000 Chileans per year and will save water sufficient for over 11,000 Chileans.