Spain's Abengoa to develop solar-thermal plant in Chilean desert

SANTIAGO Thu Jan 9, 2014 1:16pm EST

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SANTIAGO Jan 9 (Reuters) - Spanish energy company Abengoa has won an international tender to develop South America's biggest solar-thermal power plant in Chile's Atacama desert, the company said on Thursday.

Construction of the 110-megawatt, $1 billion plant in the northern town of Maria Elena is due to start in the second half of the year, Abengoa said in a statement.

Chile's scarcely populated Atacama, the world's driest desert, has great solar power potential.

The mineral-rich area is also home to many of the copper powerhouse's massive mines, which are keen for fresh energy sources amid a power squeeze that has pushed up prices.

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