| SANTIAGO, April 25
SANTIAGO, April 25 General Electric Co is
in talks with an independent energy producer to make a
significant move into wind power in Chile, two people with
knowledge of the process told Reuters, as the conglomerate
expands its global renewable footprint.
GE is in talks to provide turbines for wind farms to be
developed by Ireland's Mainstream Renewable Power throughout
Chile, according to the sources, who requested anonymity as the
matter is private.
The U.S. company would likely take an equity stake in the
projects, which would be financed with a mixture of equity and
debt, according to one source.
The sources did not say what percentage of the project would
be funded by each party. The wind farms being set up would
require a total investment of up to $1.6 billion, Mainstream has
Mainstream declined to comment, and GE said it did not
comment on rumors or speculation as a matter of company policy.
Renewable energy is booming in Chile, which has a tiny
hydrocarbon industry but abundant wind and sun. Last year,
European renewables firms, including Mainstream, won big in a
large auction to supply Chile with power for two decades,
beginning in 2021.
There have been setbacks, such as delays in the construction
of transmission lines and flagging demand from Chile's copper
mines. Many of the auction winners are seeking deep-pocketed
partners as they embark on project construction.
A partnership in Chile would mark the second such deal
between Mainstream and GE. Last year, the two said they were
teaming up for over $2 billion of investments in wind power in
Vietnam, where GE would provide technology and a portion of the
It would also come during a broader wind power push by GE.
In October, the company said it will buy LM Wind Power, a maker
of rotor blades used in wind turbines, for $1.65
Mainstream will build seven utility-scale wind farms to
provide some 986 megawatts of power at a relatively low price of
around $40 per megawatt-hour, according to the terms of the
purchase agreement in last year's auction.
The sources did not specify if the GE partnership would
apply to all seven wind farms.
The deal would mark the first significant move into Chilean
renewables by GE. The company has long provided services to
power generators in Chile, and in April 2016, GE bought into
traditional energy in the nation by acquiring 75 percent of a
gas-fired power plant.
(Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Jeffrey Benkoe)