With the Chilean Minister of Energy Andres Rebolledo Smitmans looking on, Jean-Bernard Lévy – the EDF Chief Executive Officer – inaugurated the Boléro solar plant, located in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile.
Equally owned by EDF Energies Nouvelles, a Group subsidiary entirely dedicated to renewable energy sources, and Marubeni, its Japanese partner, the Boléro solar plant (146 MWc of installed capacity) is the most powerful solar plant commissioned by the Group to date. The plant is capable of supplying 191 000 Chilean households with electricity every year while cutting down on CO2 emissions by 380 000 tons.
Comprising 475 000 photovoltaic modules fitted with solar trackers, the Boléro solar plant covers an area of more than 500 hectares, tantamount to more than 700 football fields. Located in the Atacama Desert, it receives some of the highest solar energy levels in the world.
A local subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles, EDF EN Chile launched the project in 2015 and will be in charge of its operation and maintenance. The project will boost the local economy, employing an average of 280 people during the construction phase and around twenty people throughout the plant’s service life.
In October, the EDF Group announced the launch of a 115-MWc solar project, thus stepping up its growth in the Chilean solar energy sector. Located to the north of the Chilean capital, the Santiago Solar plant will be equally owned by EDF Energies Nouvelles and Andes Mining Energy (AME), a local developer. A percentage of the power generated by the solar project will be covered by a 15-year purchase agreement signed with around 20 distributors while the rest will be sold on the market.
Gaining a foothold in the Chilean wind power sector
EDF Energies Nouvelles is also gaining a foothold in the Chilean wind power sector and has announced its plans to build the Labo-Leones 1 plant with a capacity of 115 MW.
The project, which has just reached financial close, secured a purchase agreement following a multiple-energy auction organized by the Chilean government in October 2015. Equally owned by EDF Energies Nouvelles and the Spanish developer of renewable energy facilities, Ibereolica, the facility is located on the coast in the Atacama region in Northern Chile. It comprises 55 turbines, each with a capacity of 2.1 MW. With construction just beginning, the new wind farm is expected to be commissioned at the end of the first half of 2017.
This large-scale project has enabled EDF Energies Nouvelles to install 376 MW of renewable energy capacity in the country. The Group’s foothold in this emerging market aligns with the Chilean Government’s plans to generate 20% of the country’s power through renewable energy sources by 2025 in order to meet Chile’s growing demand for electricity. Furthermore, the country’s environmental conditions are particularly conducive to the growth of the renewable energy sector.
To mark this occasion, Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of the EDF Group made the following statement: “I am delighted by the level of trust placed in the EDF Group by the Chilean authorities and by all our partners who have worked with us to implement or develop our renewable energy projects. Through its CAP 2030 strategy, the EDF Group is determined to grow its business globally, particularly in countries like Chile with substantial energy needs, abundant natural resources and attractively high levels of economic potential.”