Stalled Chile Solar Farm Is Seeking $800 Million to Restart

A stalled solar-thermal project in northern Chile backed by a U.S. private equity investor is seeking about $800 million in debt to resume construction, according to people familiar with the deal, Bloomberg News reported. EIG Global Energy Partners, the U.S. private equity investor that took over the $1 billion Cerro Dominador solar plant last year, has received interest from “several international banks,” Fernando Gonzalez, the project’s chief executive officer, said in an email Monday. He started pursuing project-finance debt about three weeks ago, and declined to say how much he’s seeking. The company expects to close a deal this year. EIG is seeking about $800 million in construction debt, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to discuss the matter. An EIG spokesman declined to comment Tuesday on the scale of the deal. EIG is moving forward with a project that threatened to become the biggest white elephant in Chile. The 110-megawatt solar-thermal plant previously known as Atacama I was a joint venture between EIG and the distressed Spanish clean-energy giant Abengoa SA. The Spanish developer spent about $200 million before halting work in the Atacama desert in early 2016, as the company teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, and in December gave its stake to EIG. Read more.
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