The world's largest wind turbine company, Denmark’s Vestas, last week announced it will be investing in the Talinay Oriente wind farm project in northern Chile, a project it says will become Latin America's largest wind farm.
The Danish company is partnering with Chilean holding company Phoenix to invest 250 million US dollars in Talinay Oriente’s initial construction phase.
Apparently seeing tremendous opportunity in Chile, Vestas also announced the hiring of former Chilean Energy Minister Marcelo Tokman to head the project. Tokman served under former President Michelle Bachelet and will assume his new post in August.
Vestas said Tokman’s mission is to further promote renewable energy and new business opportunities in both Chile and throughout the region.
Tokman will play a key role in promoting wind energy and advising key actors in the sector for integration of wind energy in the energy mix in this region,” said a Vestas spokesman. “Similarly, he will assist public authorities in developing necessary tools to establish stable regulatory frameworks and sustainable energy.
As energy minister, Tokman helped open the floodgates for diesel and coal-burning electricity generators in 2007, when the Bachelet government was concerned that a gas shortfall from Argentina and drought conditions at Chile’s reservoirs might combine to create embarrassing power blackouts.
Energy-related contamination throughout Chile grew sharply during Tokman’s watch.
“The growth of coal-based thermal plants may involve an increase in the country’s annual emissions, from 70 million tons at present to around 300 million tons by 2030, causing per capita output to register higher than European and other countries,” said a report Tokman gave to Bachelet in 2009.
The construction for the first phase is set to begin later this year. The first phase goal is to make the farm capable of producing 120 megawatts of energy. The project is expected to be completed in five separate stages, with Talinay Oriente ultimately expecting to have 250 wind turbines producing 500 megawatts of energy. Upon completion Talinay Oriente will almost double wind-power capacity in Chile.
Investment will total more than 1 billion USD by the project’s end.
The Talinay Oriente farm and complex is in Limari Province, 220 miles north of Santiago.
By Kayla Ruble – Santiago Times