Attracted by the aggressive renewable energy planned in Chile, project developer Mainstream Renewable Power and investor Actis have announced plans to set a joint venture in the South American country. The joint venture will own the projects being developed in the country by Mainstream Renewable Power.
Mainstream Renewable Power has been working the Chilean renewable energy sector for some years now. Since 2008, it has been involved in the development of about 3,500 MW of solar and wind energy capacity in the country. Both the companies seem to have a special interest in large emerging renewable energy markets.
In an earlier partnership between the companies, Actis invested $100 million in projects secured by Mainstream in South Africa. In 2012, Mainstream won government approval to set up 238 MW of solar and wind energy capacity. The projects are expected to be operational in 2014.
Chile has set some ambitious targets to boost solar power infrastructure. The country’s renewable energy agency (Centro de Energias Renovables) had recently approved implementation of 3,100 MW of solar photovoltaic projects. The agency is believed to be considering approval of another 908 MW in the near future. Chile also inaugurated the first solar thermal power plant to be operational in South America earlier this year. The 10 MW project has been implemented by Spanish company Abengoa.
Increasing Interest In Emerging Markets
Over the last couple of years, a number of companies have shown considerable interest in emerging renewable energy markets like those located in Asia, Africa and South America. Europe is plagued with economic and carbon market crisis; there is no real incentive for developing of renewable energy projects (projects in some countries are actually facing taxes). Developers are looking to move into markets where the renewable energy sector has just started to expand so that they can take advantage of investment-friendly policies and attractive tariffs.
Commenting on the deal between the two companies, Mainstream’s CEO Eddie O’Connor said, “This platform (joint venture) is about meeting the needs of offtakers, particularly large-scale industrial consumers in Chile who need top quality projects and competitive electricity prices. 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.”
Advanced developing countries like China, India, and South Africa remain the engines of global economic recovery and thus attractive international investors. Some companies are even setting up shop locally to shift base or gain foothold in these countries in order to escape the possible consequence of the ongoing geopolitical tussle over global renewable energy trade.
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