As Sonnedix continues to celebrate its latest achievement that begins our journey of hybridization of the business by entering into the wind generation space, it is equally important to acknowledge the arduous work that occurred from various team functions across our One Team. The cohesiveness and collaboration of team members are truly at the core of what led the way for this win and solar project to become one of our largest acquisitions outside of Europe.
In October, we announced that Sonnedix acquired over 290MW of renewable energy projects from Arco Energy, one of the largest independent renewable power producers in Chile. With this addition to our portfolio, Sonnedix reached over 1GW of total capacity in Chile, and 7.4GW globally.
This achievement further served as a testament to our commitment to the Chilean market – a location we have had our footprint for almost a decade. Sonnedix evolved from an independent power producer (IPP) to an international renewable energy solutions provider (REP).But we also gained something else from the Arco acquisition: we welcomed 28 talented professionals that are now part of our Sonnedix Chile office.
This is a group that is now part of our One Team family that are enthusiastic about helping us prepare us for the new era of Sonnedix.
As we continue our journey to push the energy transition forward, it is important to recognize the efforts that made this possible on the local level. It is just as important to as well to learn of the challenges and understanding of Chile’s historical and sociopolitical context. To have better understanding, we took the time to learn from Sergio Del Campo, Director of Operations & Representative Director, and Pablo Barriuso Villamar, Power Market Manager, in Chile.
Can you describe the importance of the renewables sector in Chile, including laws in place that allow companies to produce clean electricity? Has there been more support on a governmental level toward the energy?
In the last 15 years, Chile has experienced a shift in mindset from politicians toward renewables, which resulted in several laws implemented to foster renewable development in Chile. Those laws include the following: growing the renewable quota obligation to reach 25% by 2030, long-term energy policy focused on renewables and hydrogen, reshaping of public auctions to better fit renewable production, stabilized price regime for small renewable power plants, and a T-line law revamping to facilitate open access and produce faster t-line development.
Currently, there are three new bills that support renewables. The first is a new bill to accelerate deployment of storage has been approved by the Senate and has now moved to the lower chamber of representatives for final voting before approval. Second, there is a bill pursuing the increase of the current renewable quota obligation 40% by 2030 vs. the 25% previously mentioned, that is to be requested by the Ministry of Energy by the end of this year, which is a token of the country’s commitment to foster renewables. And lastly, the third bill which proposes to forbid power generation from fossil fuels by 2030, which is currently being discussed in the Senate.
How would you describe Chile’s position in the Energy Transition movement in comparison to Latin America?
Chile is one of the leading countries in Latin America actively incorporating renewables, mainly because of the strong resources and its ambitious climate targets: 70% of the country’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030, 100% of coal generation shut down by 2040, and carbon neutrality by 2050.
To date in 2022, 27.4% of the energy comes from wind (11.1%) and solar (16.3%), much higher than its neighbors who are trailing behind such as Brazil at 13.2%, Argentina at 10.4%, and Perú at 4.8%.
The acquisition of Arco presented an enormous opportunity for Sonnedix into the wind space. Can you explain the evolution of Sonnedix from your perspective?
Sonnedix set the ground in Chile back in 2015, with the acquisition of Atacama Solar, which was to be the largest solar project for the company worldwide. At that time, the company was mainly based in Europe with small to medium-size solar projects but nevertheless saw an opportunity to grow in scale. Then as the team began to grow, more projects were added, with the construction of Atacama (170 MWp) in 2020 to finally start operating March 2021.
In the meantime, a second utility-size project that was in development, Meseta de los Andes (160 MWp), was financed almost at the same time and started to be built shortly after. Now the project is finalizing its construction after delays caused by the pandemic, and it is anticipated to start producing and injecting power before the end of the year.
Presently, with the acquisition of Arco, Sonnedix enters the wind space, adding 115MW of wind capacity with our “El Arrayán” wind farm, and also a 122MWp solar plant titled, Sonnedix “Conejo”. But growth is not just represented by MW, its represented by the growth of the team. In this case the 28 individuals from Arco that we gained, who bring their expertise, capabilities and teamwork to Sonnedix.
How will the Chilean market benefit with the inclusion of our wind assets?
Customers prefer to have access to consume power daily during a full 24-hour cycle. Even though some families in remote areas around the country have learned to get by and compromise their needs due to a lack of access to clean energy, it always left them in less favorable situations.
At Sonnedix, we take pride in helping the communities we operate in by positively impacting those regions. With the inclusion of wind, we are now a desirable partner that is able to produce power and bring it to the market throughout the whole day, which will allow it to provide a baseload supply to its current and future clients, including our neighbors in the most isolated locations.
Describe what this accomplishment means for your colleagues in Chile.
This was possible with the true spirit of our One Team that involved the teamwork from everyone, not only those who reside in Chile, but also from other parts of the world. People joined together to bring their knowledge and dedication to work countless hours to make this come to fruition.
Additionally, the team knew that it was not only about adding MW to our global portfolio, but it was also was welcoming new members, that would bring new capacities and experiences, that would contribute to a new phase of growth for Sonnedix worldwide.
How does this milestone position us to becoming a key player in the energy transition?
The energy transition is accelerating worldwide, and the needs for solar, wind, and storage are expected to dramatically increase in the upcoming years, especially to ensure we meet the goals of carbon reductions. Solar energy will be one of the most relevant energy sources in the near future, and wind is the natural complement to solar, which paired with storage, can completely replace fossil-based power. This milestone, backed up with the One Team drive and focus for a sustainable and brighter future, will position Sonnedix to be one of the key players in the energy transition.
What are the future plans for Sonnedix in Chile?
Sonnedix’s ever-growing portfolio of solar, wind, and storage pipeline in Chile, now reaches 1000MW, aiming for deployment between 2023 and 2025.
This portfolio of projects will allow Sonnedix to help the growing demands of customers for renewable and clean power, which will be made possible by creating long-term partnerships that will help us advance Chile’s renewable power targets.