Chile to Provide $14 Million for First Ocean-Driven Power Plants

Chile plans to solicit bids from developers this year for as much as $14 million in grants to build the nation’s first two projects that will produce electricity from the movement of tides and waves.

The winners will be required to match the investment in the pilot projects, according to Christoph Tagwerker, an engineer in the climate change and sustainability division of the Inter-American Development Bank, which will provide an additional $2.4 million in grants for the facilities.

Chile has the potential to host 200 gigawatts of marine-power plants along its lengthy coastline, he said in a telephone interview today. That’s more than 10 times the size of the country’s grid.

“If the country can use just a small portion of this potential it could strongly influence the country’s power matrix,” he said.

The country is planning a tidal-power plant that will have at least 800 kilowatts of capacity and cost as much as $20 million, and a wave-energy project will be smaller and may cost about half that amount, he said.

Chile’s Ministry of Mines and Energy didn’t immediately reply to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.

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