Pacific Hydro Unveils US$800m Chilean Hydro Projects

18 October 2010

At a formal ceremony in Chile on Tuesday 26 October 2010, Australia’s leading renewable energy company Pacific Hydro unveiled the La Higuera and La Confluencia run-of-river hydro power stations.

The ceremony was attended by the Chilean President, Mr. Sebastián Piñera Echenique who also opened the two projects along with taking an extensive tour of the site.

The US$ 800m investment represents the largest by an Australian energy company in Chile and will add 310MW of clean energy capacity to the national grid. Combined, these two projects will contribute to avoiding up to 900,000 tonnes of CO2 going into the earth’s atmosphere every year – equivalent to taking more than 250,000 vehicles off the road.

These new clean energy power stations, which are jointly owned by Pacific Hydro and SN Power via their Tinguiririca Energia joint venture, are expected to generate significant carbon credit revenues under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism.

Speaking on behalf of Tinguiririca Energia, Pacific Hydro CEO Mr Rob Grant said “Today’s ceremony is the culmination of more than six years of commitment and dedication of many thousands of people involved in the development, financing and construction of these wonderful projects.”

“We are committed to Chile and to delivering the electricity infrastructure that it needs for its economic growth and the realisation of greater economic prosperity for its people. But importantly we are also committed to the belief that future electricity generation should be clean.”

“Clean energy projects such as these not only represent a significant environmental benefit by avoiding the use of fossil fuels, but just as importantly, by using the outstanding indigenous resources of Chile we help to move the nation a step closer to energy independence. ”

At the peak of construction La Higuera and La Confluencia created around 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in and around the Tinguiririca river valley. Many of those, now skilled in hydro power construction, have joined Pacific Hydro’s 111MW Chacayes hydro power project being constructed in the adjacent Cachapoal Valley.

“We would like to recognise the commitment of our shareholders; Industry Funds Management, Norfund and Statkraft. Without their vision, patience and financial support, world scale hydro electric projects such as these would not be possible”, said Mr Grant.

Financial partners providing debt to the projects are the International Finance Corporation, Dnb Nor, Banco Santander, Nordea, Bank AB and SEB. Local energy utility, Chilectra, will take the majority of the energy produced from the projects through innovative Power Purchase Agreements that enabled the project financing of both assets.

“We offer the President our ongoing commitment that Pacific Hydro and SN Power look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Chile and all of the stakeholders involved in the development, construction and now operation of these essential renewable energy projects”, said Mr Grant.

“Not only will they ensure the sustainable development of Chile’s economy and be a major contributor to the growth of the region, they will also play an important long term role in the global action needed to address climate change.