According to reports from Bloomberg, AES Gener, a division of AES Corp., is preparing to construct a US$572 million solar farm in northern Chile, which will help bring electricity to copper mines in the Atacama Desert. The company is pursuing a permit to build the farm in Chile’s Antogafasts region where, Bloomberg reports, BHP Billiton and state-owned Codelco, manage copper mines.
The report notes that BHP, Anglo American and other mining companies’ plant to invest nearly US$80 billion in Chile through 2013 to supplement what is considered a global copper shortage, which in turn will require additional energy delivered to the Atacama Desert. Likewise, AES Gener intends to invest US$2.5 billion in Chile over the next five years. The company currently provides nearly a third of the energy in northern Chile.
AES is not the only company with intent to build a solar farm in the Atacama region. Demersol Chile II is petitioning for a permit to build a US$32 million solar farm. Furthermore, Energias Renovables Fotones de Chile is also seeking a permit so that it can build a 180MW, US$400 million solar farm. Specific capacity information for the AES Gener solar plant was not disclosed.