Chile environmental body OKs 310 MW wind farm project

Chile's environmental regulator has given the green light to the third and last portion of energy firm E-CL's $685 million wind park project, which is expected to generate up to 310 megawatts, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The three wind parks in the mineral-rich north of the country are planned near the town of Calama, close to many huge copper mines, including state-owned Codelco's Chuquicamata and Radomiro Tomic deposits.

Steep power prices and uncertain future supply are major headaches for miners in world's No. 1 copper producer Chile, which produces a third of the world's red metal.

Plans for major coal-fired thermoelectric plants and massive hydropower dams in pristine Patagonia have spurred significant opposition, leading some to place their bets on smaller, cleaner energy projects.

After record growth in 2012, the world will see a sharp drop in the number of new wind turbines installed this year, according to a recent report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

E-CL is majority owned by French energy giant GDF Suez .