The publicly owned company ECONSSA Chile S.A., responsible for ensuring access to potable water and wastewater collection and treatment services in nine regions of the country, has awarded ACCIONA the supply of 100% renewable electricity to the desalination plant it is now building in the municipality of Caldera in the region of Atacama.
According to the terms of the PPA (Power Purchase Agreement), the contract will come into effect in November 2019, with a long-term horizon to cover all the desalination plant’s electricity requirements. It is the sixth PPA for the supply of energy singed by ACCIONA in Chile.
All the electricity supplied by ACCIONA will come from the company’s renewables plants in the country, where it currently has 291 MW in service and facilities under construction –some of them in the final phase of assembly and start-up- totaling 393 MW.
“We are very pleased to work with ECONSSA to supply clean and renewable electricity to this desalination plant, such an important project for the Atacama region. ACCIONA’s extensive portfolio of wind and solar power projects means that we can provide our clients with CO2-free supplies that are steady, reliable and at a competitive price”, says José Ignacio Escobar, ACCIONA’s Energy Division Director General, South America.
ECONSSA Chile General Manager Patricio Herrera states that “the seawater desalination plant for the Atacama region is the only project of its kind being built at present. It will provide Chileans with the latest and most efficient technology. The contract we are signing with ACCIONA today means that our plant will operate with 100% wind and solar renewable energy, while reducing operating costs and making a contribution to caring for the environment”.
In a context of water shortages in many parts of the country, ECONSSA has been building a seawater desalination plant since early 2018. Its total production capacity of 1,200 liters per second (l/S) will cover the consumption of people living in four municipalities in Atacama. Until now, this supply was covered by a spring.
Initially, the electricity supplied will allow ECONSSA to carry out the first technical tests on the plant. The energy supply will gradually increase as the three stages of the start-up of the plant are completed, from 450 l/s in the first phase to 1,200 l/s when it is operating at full capacity.
The supply contract signed with ECONSSA joins others signed with major corporate clients in Chile. For example, with Google for the supply of electricity to its data center; the distribution chain Falabella, to supply around one hundred stores of the group and its subsidiaries; Aguas Chañar for its end-to-end water facilities in the region of Atacama; LATAM Airlines Group for its corporate offices and operation and maintenance base in Santiago airport, and the National Mining Company of Chile (ENAMI) to supply its plants in the regions of Antofagasta, Atacama and Coquimbo, as well as the consumption associated with the modernization of a publicly-owned copper casting facility.
ACCIONA has also signed supply contracts with all the distributors and cooperatives in the country following an energy tender for the consumption of regulated clients called “Tender 2013/03, 2nd call” and “Tender 2015/01”.
Photo caption: Almeyda PV plant, owned by ACCIONA in Atacama