Chile’s government has released CLP780 million (US$1.3 million) to fund the early-stage development of 51 renewable energy projects totalling 740MW.

The funds will be awarded by the country’s Ministry of Energy research arm, Centro de Energías Renovables (CER), to support the costs of co-finance and pre-investment studies in early and advanced project development stages.

The funding will support the 12 solar power plants, 15 small hydro projects, 15 wind, 7 biomass, a hybrid project and new transmission lines.

The funding will be aimed at renewable energy developments under 50MW.

Chile’s energy minister Max Pacheco said the funding award is part of the country’s 'energy agenda'. As part of this, the government has established a priority for indigenous energy sources that create a new supply of renewable energy, and bring in new business, providing space for different sized projects of different technologies.  

The funding was announced by Pacheco, and the government of Chile’s competitive development corporation, CORFO’s vice president, Eduardo Bitran, and the director of CER, Maria Paz De La Cruz.

The German development bank, KfW, is to provide some of the CLP780 million funding, as part of an international agreement to support renewable energy in the country.

CORFO’s Bitran said that KfW will provide a loan to grant a subsidy for renewable energy generation, and a project grant to encourage the private sector to develop renewable energy.

Martina Stamm from KfW said: “Chile has a huge potential of renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, biomass, small hydro and geothermal. The pre-investment studies CER instrument is very important for the thorough preparation of NCRE projects bankable. ”

This month Chile also launched a net metering scheme for solar systems under 100kW, and the environmental agency has approved 392MW in new solar developments, and another 698MW solar power plant.