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Solar and wind power projects forging ahead in Peru

The renewable energy sector of the South American country of Peru saw a boost this week with the inauguration of two solar power plants and successful financing for the country’s first large-scale wind farms.

Renewable energy project developers Solarpack and Gestamp Solar announced the launch of the two solar plants in the regions of Tacna and Moquegua in Southern Peru.

The Panamericana Solar project in Moquegua and the Tacna Solar project in Tacna have a total capacity of 40 megawatts or 20 MW each. They will provide clean power to the local area through the National Interconnected Electrical Systems.

The two solar power plants are currently the largest in Latin America and will provide enough energy for 70,000 homes. They will also avoid the emission of more than 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually.

Both plants represent an investment of around $196 million and received funding support from the American agency the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

While this week marked the formal opening, both plants are already operational. Panamericana Solar since December 31, 2012 and Tacna Solar since October 31, 2012.

The occasion was marked by the attendance of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala. State news agency Andina reported that the President said the new plants meant that energy produced by Peru’s solar panels now exceed 100 MW, making it the top solar producing country in South America.

Also this week, Peru’s first large scale wind farms received a $95 million loan facility from Peru’s national development bank, Corporacions Financiera de Desarollo S.A.

The agreement was entered by the bank and ContourGlobal this week with first disbursement immanent. Deutsche Bank was the funding entity for the bridge lean which is expected to be repaid with long term financing to be closed in the second quarter of 2013.

New York-based international power generation company ContourGlobal first announced their intention to construct the Talara and Cupisnique wind farms in northern Peru on October of last year (see related story).

The two plants will make up the Inka Wind Power Complex and will have a total capacity of 110 MW – 30 MW from Talara and 80 MW from Cupinisque respectively. Construction will be held by Tractebel Engineering Peru with turbines supplied by Vestas. Both wind plants are set to be operational before the year ends.

The Talara and Cupinisque wind farms represent a total expected investment of $250 million. They will be registered under clean development mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. – K. Jalbuena

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