The recent trip to the United States by President Michelle Bachelet and her meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on June 30th underscored U.S-Chile bilateral cooperation in a number of areas. The following aspects were highlighted in the area of energy:
Solar Plant Financing
On June 27, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) approved a loan guarantee of up to $230 million to support the construction of a 141 megawatt solar power plant in the Atacama Desert region of Chile. The plant will help diversify Chile’s energy sources and also supports President Obama’s National Export Initiative by facilitating some $97 million in U.S. exports.
Since June 2013, OPIC has approved almost $900 million of loan guarantees for the construction of six renewable energy generation projects in Chile. The United States Government is the largest lender to renewable energy projects in Chile.
Joint Statement on Enhanced Energy Cooperation
U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz and Chile’s Ministry of Energy Maximo Pacheco signed a Joint Statement to highlight expanded areas of bilateral energy cooperation between the United States and Chile, building on the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Clean Energy Technologies that was signed in 2009, and announcing an annual senior-level bilateral energy dialogue.
Areas of increased collaboration will include oil and natural gas development, electricity grid policy, technology, and management, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. Engagements will be informed by commercial energy priorities in Chile and United States, and will include national laboratories and private sector entities in both countries.
The Department of State will implement up to $1.4 million in programs to strengthen Chile’s capacity to enhance its regional electrical integration, build technical capacity and market rules to integrate renewable energy with Chile’s power systems, maximize energy efficiency, and build capacity to develop unconventional gas resources.