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Chile power watch: US$370mn solar project, PMGD rules tweak

A Chilean unit of Spanish renewables developer FRV submitted for environmental evaluation a US$372mn solar PV project.

FRV Services Chile wants to build the 458MWp park, Llanos de Marañón, near Vallenar in northern Atacama region.

Ancillary elements include a 25km, 220kV transmission line and networks of buried low and medium-voltage lines.

FRV entered Chile with what it describes as its first solar-wind hybrid project, which comprises the 198MW Rarinco wind project in the south of the country and the 145MW Punta del Viento solar project in the north. The company is awaiting construction decisions, according to the BNamericas project profiles.

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Energy minister Claudio Huepe announced an amendment to rules that govern the country’s PMGD distributed generation framework, local media outlet Electricidad reported. 

The news follows industry pressure to push back to April 8 a deadline to issue requests to start construction. 

This pressure, in turn, was generated by developers who want to build their PMGD projects under the current stabilized price regime. To achieve this, they need to meet certain deadlines.

Solar trade group Acesol had warned that, due to the number of projects attempting to obtain approval in time to remain in the old regime, energy regulator CNE‘s processing capacity was reaching its limit, as projects totaling between 800MW and 1,000MW were pending authorization for construction.

With the rule modification, developers will have up to six months to address observations raised by authorities, Electricidad reported.

According to a recent decision by CNE, projects had until March 14 to issue requests to start construction if they wanted to ensure they received their authorizations by April 8, the deadline to stay under the old stabilized price regime, widely considered key for the financing of some solar projects.

In 2020, Chile announced it would adjust the existing stabilized price regime, aimed at helping distributed generation projects access more stable remuneration to obtain financing, by rewarding generators less for injecting energy during the day and more for doing so in the evenings and at night. Projects filed before a certain date could remain in the old regime for up to 14 years.

PMGD plants, which are up to 9MW in capacity and grid connected, are becoming increasingly important in the Chilean power grid. According to renewables trade group Acera, at the end of February the country had 1.8GW of installed PMGD capacity, 15% of the country’s total renewable capacity. Meanwhile, small projects not connected to the distribution grid make up 321MW, while net-billing projects (household generation meant for self-consumption) reached a total of over 108MW.

Read More: Chile power watch: US$370mn solar project, PMGD rules tweak

2022-03-18 15:23:29

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