The Spanish company, which has had operations in Chile for a decade now, revealed that it will invest US$800 million by 2025.
The company has been in the electricity business in Chile for ten years. Acciona, the world’s principal renewable energy company, wants to continue expanding its portfolio, so much so that it plans to double its size in five years whilst also positioning itself as the country’s largest green generator.
At present, the Spanish company has 300 MW in operation and 400 MW under construction, which have required an investment of US$600 million under a plan it announced a year ago. Acciona’s director of energy for South America, José Ignacio Escobar, revealed that the company plans to go further and, through to 2025, will invest US$800 million more, giving it an additional 800 MW.
Out of this, 220 MW have been earmarked for a photovoltaic project in the Atacama Region of northern Chile, which has already obtained its environmental permit. Escobar explained that the other 580 MW will take the form of the company’s own projects or the acquisition of new projects or expansions.
“The new plan implies reaching 1,500 MW, which is a very clear demonstration not only that Chile is a great place to continue investing, but also that evidently all the projections of energy consumption from renewable sources are going to continue to rise. That is not only because of decarbonization, but also because of the advent of electromobility and because large mining customers are looking to move to 100% renewable supply, and that is putting tremendous pressure on companies like ours,” reported Escobar.
With respect to the 580 MW, he explained that, for the time being, the focus will be on solar and wind plants because “they are the technologies that are giving more competitiveness at the level of clients.” However, he added that, probably towards the middle of the next decade, the company will be incorporating lithium battery systems – of which it is a pioneer internationally – giving it greater flexibility in supply.
“We are convinced that coal can be removed by 2030 and gas by 2040,” said Escobar, who is also president of the Chilean Association of Renewable Energies (ACERA).
He added that he is convinced it is possible to be still more ambitious and bring forward the date of 2040 proposed by the government for decarbonization of the matrix. However, he indicated that “the government’s announcement is a powerful signal and marks a very important trend for investors, telling them that this country will not allow them to continue investing in fossil technologies; as a starting point, I feel that it is the beginning of a story that we hope proceeds rapidly.”
He emphasized that “we are convinced that, in terms of scale and volume, renewables can, during these two decades, perfectly well replace all the conventional generation that exists in the world and in Chile.”
Escobar also explained the importance that the Chile energy transition is accompanied throughout its course by all the necessary regulatory changes. However, he also indicated that “regulation has an influence but business decisions and price signals have greater influence; to the extent that there is a law on complementary services, a law with the corresponding flexibility, and we have technologies which allow us to replace coal and gas in a cost-efficient manner, it will be a very rapid transition.”
To find out more about renewable energy investment opportunities in Chile, see this article.