SANTIAGO -(Dow Jones)- State Grid Corp. of China, the country's near-monopoly power distributor, is interested in developing the nearly 2,000-kilometer transmission line for Chile's massive HidroAysen hydrogeneration power project, daily newspaper El Mercurio reported Friday.
In recent years, Chinese companies have been increasingly investing in Latin America, betting that strong economic growth will continue to fuel firm domestic demand. Late last year, State Grid bought seven Brazilian power distributors, in a deal valued at nearly $1 billion.
Industry analysts estimate that HidroAysen's extensive transmission line may cost around $3.8 billion to build, more than the $3.2 billion price tag the project's five power plants have.
The 2,750-megawatt HidroAysen project is being developed in a joint venture between Chilean power generators Empresa Nacional de Electricidad SA (EOC, ENDESA.SN), or Endesa, and Colbun SA (COLBUN.SN).
Company executives at State Grid recently met up with their counterparts at Endesa and Colbun and offered to finance and build HidroAysen's transmission line, El Mercurio reported.
With Chile looking to double its current installed capacity of 15,000 megawatts over the next decade to keep up with demand, the five-unit HidroAysen project, would be Chile's biggest in terms of installed capacity.
The power project, however, has met fierce opposition because of plans to lay the transmission line through vast expanses of pristine land and plans to dam the Baker and Pascua rivers.
While HidroAysen's five generating units already received environmental approval in May, the environmental impact study for the transmission line will be handed to regulators in March.
Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2011/10/21/chinas-state-grid-ponders-chiles-hidroaysen-transmission-line/#ixzz1biDsjnsJ