Construction has begun on what will become Chile's largest wind farm, a 115-megawatt development in the Antofagasta region in the northern part of the country.
The $245 million El Arrayán project brings together AEI, Pattern Energy and Antofagasta Minerals. The project, which will use 50 Siemens 2.3-MW wind turbines, is expected to begin commercial operation in early 2014.
The region is a hotbed of copper mining, and thus it’s become a lure for renewable energy developers who are eager to help the mining companies expand their business. Spanish company Ingenostrum is looking to build six solar plants worth nearly $2 billion and totaling 668 MW in the region. And Enel Green Power is close to starting construction nearby on a 40-MW geothermal plant.
Latin American expansion: Enel Green Power, a subsidiary of Italy’s dominant utility, reaffirmed its desire to look for expansion opportunities in Brazil, Chile and Mexico.
Solar for the Tropics: A group of researchers from the Costa Rica Institute of Technology is working on redesigning solar panels specifically for the more constant temperatures found in the tropics.
Latin America Expected to Show Strong Solar Growth: The European Photovoltaic Industry Association says the world’s solar power generating capacity will grow by between 200 and 400 percent over the next five years, with Asia and other emerging markets overtaking leadership from Europe. Reuters reports that the EPIA predicted that the fastest PV capacity growth is expected in China and India, followed by the southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa in the next five years.
Damming Chile: Patagonia Could See Five Hydro Plants: Renowned as one of the last great wildernesses, Chilean Patagonia is now also the scene of a bitter fight over plans to build five hydroelectric dams that would satisfy a quarter of Chile’s rapidly growing hunger for electricity.
Geothermal Project Loses Owner: Geothermal company Energy Development Corp. (EDC) has pulled out of the 185-MW Calerias energy project in Chile after reportedly encountering disappointing exploration results during a recent resource assessment, according to Business News Americas.
A FOCUS ON BRAZIL
Brazil A Driving Force in Wind: The global wind industry will install more than 46 gigawatts of new wind energy capacity in 2012, according to a five-year industry forecast published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), and much of that growth is expected to come in Brazil. By the end of 2016, total global wind power capacity will be just under 500 GW.
Brazil Aims to Export Biodiesel to Spain: Erasmo Carlos Battistella, President of the Biofuel Producers of Brazil, is meeting with the Spanish ambassador to discuss biodiesel exports to Spain after Argentina cut their ties because of YPF S.A issues.
Impact of Dam Construction in Amazon: A report released by the Center for International Environmental Law suggests that hydroelectric development in the Andean Amazon could have a significant negative environmental impact.
Engineering a Better Tree for Biomass: FuturaGene, a genetic research and development firm focused on speeding up the growth of the eucalyptus tree, has been granted approval to begin a fourth field trial of its genetically modified tree in Brazil that could be used to feed biomass plants.
Yingli Panels to Go On Soccer Shrine: Yingli and Rio de Janeiro have reached a deal to supply solar panels to Estadio do Maracana, the famed soccer stadium that will host the final game of the 2014 World Cup.
"If we don't do something we will have problems with water supplies along the coasts, we know there will be more droughts, more rains ... we are already seeing temperature changes."
Mariano Felipe Soldan, head of the government's strategic planning office.
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