Sponsors withdraw EIS for wind portion of e-fuels project in Chile
The proposed look of the Faro del Sur wind farm in southern Chile. Image source: Enel Chile (www.enel.cl)
Renewables company Enel Green Power Chile and e-fuels producer HIF Global on Thursday withdrew their environmental impact study (EIS) for the 325-MW Faro del Sur wind farm project in southern Chile following a flood of unfavourable observations by regional authorities.
The USD-500-million (EUR 510.3m) project was going to involve the installation of 65 wind turbines and a 12.1-km (7.5 miles) underground transmission line in the region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica, all in the service of HIF’s future green hydrogen-to-e-fuels plant in the same region.
The project promoters filed the EIS for scrutiny in early August this year, and by Thursday received negative feedback from nearly every regional ministry and agency that can comment on road safety, indigenous affairs, bird flight patterns, archeology, environmental and other related issues. Most of these bodies agreed that either the baseline study was not comprehensive enough or that the EIS in general left them with questions that required more clarification on the part of the promoters, according to their publicly available comments sent to Chilean environmental evaluation service SEA.
On Thursday, HIF and Enel Green Power issued a press release stating that they “felt the observations made by government agencies during the evaluation process of the wind park exceeded the usual standard, given that all the information required by the law was provided.”
“Considering these exceptional requirements, it is necessary to understand which requirements can be incorporated and which make this kind of project unfeasible in the region,” the statement reads.
The hydrogen part of the whole Faro del Sur project was awarded USD 16.9 million in funds from the Chilean state in late December 2021 following a call for green hydrogen proposals. The setup was to include 240 MW of electrolysers, powered by the disputed Faro del Sur wind farm, to produce green hydrogen. This hydrogen would be mixed with recycled CO2 to produce HIF’s clean fuels.
HIF and Enel Green Power imagined the Faro del Sur complex as an industrial-scale implementation of the e-fuels production process, following their Haru Oni pilot e-fuels plant they are currently building the Magallanes region.
“HIF Chile and EGP are convinced of the value that the development of renewable energy and the green hydrogen industry adds to the Magallanes region, and the leadership role that Chile can play in addressing global climate change,” the companies said in response to Thursday’s blow to their wind farm portion of the project.
“However, in order to move forward, it is necessary that the authorities provide clear guidelines to the companies about the expectations for regional development, protecting the communities, and the environment.”
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