Andes Renovables is a 1.3GW solar-wind hybrid project being developed across the Antofagasta, Atacama, Bio-Bio, and the Los Lagos regions of Chile. It is one of the biggest renewable energy projects under construction in Latin America.
Mainstream Renewable Power (MRP) is the 100% owner of the project which is being developed in three phases with a total estimated investment of £1.34bn ($1.7bn). The project will comprise seven wind farms for a total capacity of 951MW and three photovoltaic (PV) solar farms with a total installed capacity of 350MW.
Mainstream secured the contract from the Chilean National Energy Commission (CNE) to build and operate the 1.3GW project for a period of 20 years in August 2016 as part of the country’s technology-neutral electricity auction of 2016.
The three development phases of the project are Condor (571MW), Huemul (630MW), and Copihue (100MW).
Mainstream started construction works after achieving financial closure for the first phase of the project in November 2019, while the financial close on the second phase is expected in the second half of 2020.
Scheduled for completion in 2022, the 1.3GW project is expected to generate up to 3.4TWh of electricity annually accounting for approximately 7% of Chile’s total electricity consumption, while offsetting more than 1.6million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 emissions a year.
The Andes Renovables Condor project details
The first phase of the Andes Renovables hybrid renewable energy project comprises three onshore wind farms for a total capacity of 426MW and a 145MW solar farm named Rio Escondido.
The three onshore wind farms being developed under the Condor portfolio are the 157MW Tchamma and the 185MW Cerro Tigre wind farms in the Antofagasta region, and the 84MW Alena wind farm in the Bio Bio region of Chile.
The 145MW Rio Escondido solar farm is being developed in the Atacama Desert of Chile. MRP raised the 100th pylon for the transmission line that will serve the Rio Escondido solar farm in May 2020.
Scheduled for commissioning in 2021, the Condor phase of the Andes Renovables project is anticipated to generate enough clean electricity to power approximately 680,000 Chilean households and displace 656,000t of CO2 emissions annually.
Mainstream secured approximately £450m ($580m) of debt financing from a consortium of six international banks for the first phase of the Andes Renovables project in November 2019. It is considered to be one of the biggest renewable energy debt financing deals in the Latin American region in 2019.
The lenders for the project include CaixaBank, DNB, KfW IPEX-Bank, Natixis, SMBC, and Societe Generale.
The Andes Renovables awarded the Infrastructure Investor Awards 2019 Latin America Renewables Deal of the year and as well as the Project Financial International PFI awards 2019 Americas Deal of the Year.
The Andes Renovables Huemul and Copihue phases
The 630MW Huemul phase of the project will include three onshore wind farms for a total installed capacity of 425MW and two PV solar farms of 205MW total installed capacity, while the Copihue, the last phase of the project will involve a single onshore wind farm of 100MW capacity.
The generating assets under the Huemul portfolio are the 109MW Ckani and 160MW Llanos del Viento wind farms in Antofagasta, the 156MW Puelche Sur wind farm in Los Lagos, the 100MW Pampa Tigre solar farm in Antofagasta, and the 105MW Valle Escondido solar farm in Atacama.
The second phase of the project involves the construction of more than 125km of transmission lines for connecting the new power generating facilities with the grid. The longest transmission line will be for the Valle Escondido solar farm that will run for more than 55km.
The construction of transmission lines for Andes Renovables phase two was started in May 2020.
The Huemul phase of the Andes Renovables project is expected to generate enough electricity for approximately 780,000 Chilean households while displacing approximately 744,000t of CO2 emissions a year.
Sacyr Industrial and Elecnor were contracted for the construction of wind farms, while Vestas, Nordex Acciona, and Siemens Gamesa were contracted for supplying the wind turbines for the first phase of the Andes Renovables project.
Vestas will supply and install 44 V117-4.2 MW wind turbines to the Cerro Tigre onshore wind farm. Siemens Gamesa and Nordex Acciona will be the turbine suppliers for the Tchamma and the Alena wind farms respectively.
Sterling & Wilson is the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the 105MW Valle Escondido solar farm.
Transelec, Compania General de Electricidad (CGE), HMV Ingenieros, and Siemens are responsible for the grid connection works for the Andes Renovables phase one project, while ABB is the supplier of four main power transformers.
The contractors for the transmission lines for phase two of the Andes Renovables project are Improlec, Transelec, Siemens, and Isotron Chile.