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Impressive solar energy focus helps OPIC bolster U.S.-Chile relations

Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet and U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House
Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet and U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House, June 30. The two leaders met to discuss U.S.-Chile relations, including OPIC’s support for a major solar power project in Chile. Photo courtesy CSPAN.

When Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet met with President Obama at the White House June 30, one of the topics the two leaders discussed was energy cooperation between the United States and Chile.

“We’re both very interested in energy, and how we can transition to a clean-energy economy,” said President Obama. “We’ll be announcing some collaborations including the facilitation of construction of a major solar plant inside of Chile that can help meet their energy needs.”

The solar plant the President referenced is the Luz del Norte plant that First Solar, Inc. is building in Chile’s Atacama Desert with the support of OPIC financing. Last month, OPIC committed $230 million to the project, which is expected to produce 141 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.

“OPIC is proud to be playing an instrumental role in supporting investments in renewable resources,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “The construction of Luz del Norte will help pave the way for further solar power development in Chile, where the potential for this clean, renewable resource is so strong.”

A White House fact sheet lays out some further details on the energy cooperation between the two countries, including OPIC’s commitments of nearly $900 million since June 2013 toward the development of renewable energy in Chile. Just last week a $49 million OPIC loan closed in support of the development of a Sun Edison solar development in Chile’s Antofagasta region.

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