Latin America's Largest Solar Plant Opens in Chile, Powered by SunEdison
Chile unveiled the SunEdison’s 100MW Amanecer Solar CAP plant in Copiapo, which is likely the biggest photovoltaic (PV) power facility in Latin America.
President Michelle Bachelet inaugurated the plant, which is located 37km from Copiapo in the Atacama Desert and features over 310,000 PV modules that have been installed across the 250 acres site. The plant is said to be worth $250 million.
José Pérez – SunEdison’s president for Europe, Africa, and Latin America, said, “This plant demonstrates that photovoltaic solar energy is an ideal way of diversifying the energy matrix in Chile, reducing costs and contributing towards meeting the demand for clean and sustainable energy. The 150MW+ interconnected by SunEdison in Chile is the starting point of our firm commitment to the future of energy consumption and the development of the energy industry in this country.”
The company said that all of the energy from the Amanecer plant will be injected into the Central Interconnected System, which reduces the net cost of grid electricity. About 270GWh will be injected into the system in the first year after the plant starts operating, and it is expected to provide power to 125,000 homes in the region.
CAP Group President Roberto de Andraca B. said the plant would generate the equivalent of 15% of the group's energy demand. CAP Group General Manager Fernando Reitich said, "We believe that this style of mining is part of a business vision that allows for the development of our present and future activities."
SunEdison president and CEO Ahmad Chatila said, "Amanecer Solar CAP has become a benchmark for SunEdison in how to develop photovoltaic solar energy on an international level."
Latin America is seeing a lot of investment in solar power in recent years. In 2013, the continent saw the launch of a Trees, Water and People subsidiary. The subsidiary aims to bring more solar power to Latin America. The subsidiary, Luciérnaga, “distributes small (<15W) solar lighting technologies that afford-ably meet lighting and device charging needs for energy poor populations.”
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.