Origin Energy Limited (ORG) announced the acquisition of a 51 per cent interest in one of Chile’s leading hydroelectric development companies, Energía Austral, from Xstrata Copper. Energía Austral is currently assessing the feasibility of developing a hydroelectric project of approximately 1,000 MW in the Aysén Region of southern Chile. Once completed, it will comprise up to three hydroelectric plants and a transmission system connecting the project to the nation’s Central Interconnected Grid (SIC). Origin will take the lead role in developing Energia Austral’s hydroelectric project with Xstrata Copper retaining a 49 per cent stake in the company. Under the terms of the agreement, during the next three years Origin will progressively invest project development costs of US$75 million for the completion of a detailed project feasibility study, and, if the project is deemed feasible, an additional US$75 million towards a final investment decision. Xstrata Copper will be entitled to additional payments when the project is operational and only if certain revenue threshold targets are met.
Origin Managing Director, Mr Grant King said, “Energía Austral’s project is situated in an area of reliable rainfall and stable water flows making it ideal for hydroelectric generation, and, in coming years, stands to play an important role in providing the nation with an efficient, flexible and reliable supply of electricity from a renewable resource. “Origin’s investment in Energía Austral is consistent with the company’s pursuit of a portfolio of renewable energy opportunities in markets with attractive growth options. It also complements Origin’s existing footprint in Chile through its 40 per cent interest in the nation’s leading geothermal exploration company, Energía Andina,” Mr King said.
Origin Energy (ORG) is the leading Australian integrated energy company focused on gas and oil exploration and production, power generation and energy retailing. Origin is Australia’s largest energy retailer servicing 4.4 million electricity, natural gas and LPG customer accounts and has one of the country’s largest and most flexible generation portfolios with more than 5,310 MW of capacity, through either owned generation or contracted rights. Origin’s strategic positioning and portfolio of assets provide flexibility, stability and significant opportunities for growth across the energy industry. Established in 1995, Energía Austral is currently developing Chile’s second largest hydro project in the Aysén Region of southern Chile. Energía Austral’s hydro project will comprise up to three hydro plants and a transmission line that will contribute approximately 1,000 MW of electricity to Chile’s Central Interconnected Grid (SIC). The company employs approximately 50 people – including hydrological, environmental and community engagement specialists – and has offices in Santiago, Puerto Aysén and Coyhaique.