SEOUL -- Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), the state-run operator of nuclear power plants, signed a joint investment accord with domestic partners for a Chilean energy project to build two solar power plants, 6.6MW and 6.4MW each in Guadalupe and María Pinto, and operate them for 25 years. Construction will begin this year for completion in 2021.
Northern Chile has the highest solar incidence in the world. In 2015, Chile announced a roadmap to produce 19 percent of its electricity from solar energy, 23 percent from wind power and 29 percent hydroelectric power.
For the solar power project near Santiago, KHNP partnered with S-Energy, a photovoltaic solar module producer, and Hanyang Electric, a solar component maker, as well as Korea Overseas Infrastructure & Urban Development Corp. (KIND), a state body which supports Korean companies for project planning, feasibility studies, project information and project bankability.
Chile is considered an attractive investment country because small power generation businesses can generate stable profits with government support, KHNP said, adding that the solar power project near Santiago can expect additional profits by securing carbon emission rights.
A clean development system allows advanced countries, which are required to reduce greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol, to sell greenhouse gas reductions obtained by investing in developing countries.
KHNP said it would participate in project management and plant operation as well as construction and process control. "Through this project, we will fulfill our role as a comprehensive energy company by speeding up the expansion of overseas renewable businesses," KHNP CEO Chung Jae-hoon said in a statement.
KHNP has stepped up efforts to diversify its portfolio and participate in renewable energy projects at home and abroad since President Moon Jae-in vowed to increase the share of renewable energy up to 20 percent of the country's total electricity output by 2030. Moon's campaign to replace fossil-fueled power plants with clean and renewable energy has undermined KHNP's performance.
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