Chile to auction areas for wind energy and solar power

Chile is set to auction off vast new areas of land for anyone who will use the space to develop solar power or wind energy projects. Chile has a fast growing renewable energy sector, setting a target that 20 percent of its energy will be renewable by 2025.

The Chilean Ministry of National Assets made the announcement Monday that 1,095 acres (443 hectares) of state-owned land in the Antogafasta and Atacama regions in the country’s northern coast will be auctioned off for the development of wind, photovoltaic and concentrated solar power projects.

The land will be divided into six areas and concession contracts will be granted for 30 years.

According to the ministry, the projects are meant “to ensure a diversified, balanced energy matrix and that gives the country greater levels of sovereignty in their energy requirements,” it said in a press release.

Developing the solar and wind energy in the country’s north – particularly the Atacama desert – is part of a government’s overall energy strategy. The area provides some of the best natural conditions for solar in the world, where the high horizontal solar radiation make solar technologies more productive, which translate into lower costs per unit of electricity generated.

Renewable energy in Chile provided 9 percent of the country’s electricity in 2014, and is a fast growing sector. The country has set a renewable energy target of 20 percent by 2025.

The government will begin accepting bids for the property Dec. 9, and estimates that it will take approximately 30 days to review them and 50 days to allocate the land.