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German bank helps Chile agency finance renewables, small hydro

A German development bank and Chile's economic development agency have approved financing of the first small hydro project under a program to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency in Chile. Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW) and Corporacion de Fomento de la Produccion (Corfo) approved a US$12 million loan for the 6-MW Rio Trueno hydroelectric project in Chile's Araucania Region. Being developed by Gestion de Proyectos Electricos (GPE) and financed by Chile's Banco BICE, Rio Trueno is the first small hydro project submitted under a new Corfo line of credit for non-conventional renewable energy projects. GPE also has developed the 5.6-MW Puclaro hydro project in the Coquimbo Region. (HNN 6/15/07) The financing is part of an agreement by KfW to provide a total of US$120 million for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Chile. A contribution to the program by Corfo brings total financing to US$150 million. KfW Vice President Helmut Gauges and Corfo Executive Vice President Carlos Alvarez signed contracts for the program December 11, prior to paying a visit to the Puclaro project, which began operation in April. (HNN 11/20/07) The government of Chile named Corfo in August to administer a new US$400 million fund to promote new renewable energies and energy efficiency, including small hydropower and ocean energy. (HNN 8/28/08) In March, President Michelle Bachelet signed a new energy law, requiring electric utilities to invest in, and supply up to 10 percent of their electricity from, non-conventional energy sources, including small hydro and ocean energy.

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