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Work starts at 115MW Chile wind farm as partners raise $245m

A joint venture of AEI, Pattern Energy and Antofagasta Minerals has started construction work at the 115MW El Arrayan wind farm in Chile after securing $245m financing for the project.

The partners are building the wind plant – which they say will be Chile's largest – via their Parque Eolico El Arrayan (PEEA) consortium.

The project is located about 400km north of Santiago on the Chilean coast, and should come online in early 2014.

Germany's Siemens will provide 50 2.3MW turbines for the wind farm – the same machines that Pattern Energy is using at its other projects around the world.

The $245m package – which completed the project's financing – includes funding for the two-year construction period, liquidity reserves and a 15-year term loan. The funds will be arranged by Denmark’s Export Kredit Fonden (EKF), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, and Credit Agricole. Chile's Corpbanca is also involved.

In November 2011, PEEA entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement with Minera Los Pelambres, a mining company controlled by Antofagasta Minerals. The price was not disclosed.

"El Arrayan is our first wind project in Chile, marking Pattern's expansion into Latin America,” says Mike Garland, chief executive of Pattern Energy.

“Chile's limited indigenous energy resources make it an ideal locale for renewable projects, which are a local resource and add to the economy rather than take from the economy.”