Business / Industries

Chile banks on new energy to attract fresh investment

By Du Juan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-11 10:04

Chile plans to raise its renewable energy use from 6 percent now to 20 percent of total energy use by 2025, which will mean investment opportunities for Chinese companies that possess capital and technology, the president of the South American country said on Monday in Beijing.

Michelle Bachelet said that China has been a very important investor for Chile and the technology the country has in nuclear, wind and solar power generation has significant role to play for her country's development.

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"We are working on making Chile more attractive for foreign investors," she said.

Jorge Pizarro Cristi, executive vice-president of Chile's Foreign Investment Committee, said China has become one of the most important capital-exporting countries, but its presence in Chile is not high.

Chile, which depends on imports for its oil, is working hard to change its energy mix by increasing the supply of wind, solar, nuclear and hydropower energy.

Cristi said that Chile is facing a bottleneck in its drive to improve production efficiency because of power shortfalls, which means huge opportunities for Chinese companies to invest in the power generation sector. There are only two private Chinese companies investing in Chile's wind and solar power stations.

Cristi said power station investors are allowed to set electricity prices with large-scale end-users such as mining companies, which could yield good profits for them.

In Chile, up to 30 percent of power demand is from mining companies, most of which are in the northern part of the country. North Chile has great sunshine conditions for building solar power stations, said Cristi.

China is the biggest photovoltaic solar panel producer in the world and exports more than 90 percent of its output.

Chinese private company Trina Solar Ltd announced in September it would supply 70-megawatt solar modules to a large-scale solar power project in Chile.

Zhu Zhiguo, president of the module business unit at Trina Solar Ltd, said the company sees large demand and significant potential for solar energy in Chile.

Jorge Heine, Chile's ambassador to China, said: "Mining is the traditional area for Chinese companies investing in Chile, but there is more sectors such as infrastructure construction, agriculture and finance that are open to foreign investors".

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