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Ibereolica, EDF close financing for large Chilean wind farm - sources

| SANTIAGO

SANTIAGO Nov 21 Spanish energy company Ibereolica and French state energy firm EDF Energies Nouvelles have closed financing with three banks to construct a 115-megawatt wind farm in north-central Chile, two sources with knowledge of the process said on Monday.

According to the sources, Japan's SMBC, Credit Agricole, and Norway's DNB have agreed to provide financing for the proposed Cabo Leones I Wind Farm at the southern edge of Chile's Atacama Desert.

At 115 megawatts, Cabo Leones I is among the largest wind farms in the South American nation to have closed financing, the last hurdle needed to begin construction.

The total capital expenditure of the project is approximately $200 million with $140 million of debt, the sources said.

SMBC, DNB, Credit Agricole, and EDF did not immediately respond to request for comment. Ibereolica declined to comment.

Companies involved in non-conventional renewable energies - mainly wind and solar - have flooded into Chile in recent years, attracted by excellent solar resources, high energy prices, and regulatory changes.

In a massive, 12.3 terawatt public auction in August to supply Chile with power for two decades from the 2020s, wind and solar companies won the majority of tendered power.

Ibereolica and projects in which the Spanish company has a stake won significant chunks of the auctioned power with bids in the $47 to $62 per megawatt-hour range.

However, difficulties faced by many of the auction winners in acquiring financing have raised questions among some observers as to whether the prices offered by renewable energy providers are realistic.

Wind turbines for the project will be provided by Spanish firm Gamesa. (Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Caroline Stauffer and Lisa Shumaker)

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