Sustainable energy

Trajectories for Chilean green energy exceed expectations

With more 9,979 MW of renewable energy infrastructure in the works, Chile may see a near 50 percent dependence on renewable energy sources in the future 

Thursday, November 22, 2012  
Chile plans to step up its reliance in on renewable energy sources. Photo by Timothy Tolle/flickr Chile plans to step up its reliance in on renewable energy sources. Photo by Timothy Tolle/flickr

Recent assessments by Chile’s Renewable Energy Center revealed that if the country continues along its current path, it might be able to reach nearly 50 percent dependence on green energy sources in upcoming years.


Currently Chile uses 878 MW of renewable energy per year, which is only 4.88 percent of its total energy use. This figure includes biomass, mini-hydro and wind power, as well as a small percentage of solar energy.


However, with ambitious plans in the works, Chile promises to up this percentile dramatically in the future.


As we speak, infrastructure for 262 MW worth of green energy is under construction in the form of mini-hydro, wind, biomass and 3.9 MW of solar energy projects.


In addition, 5,177 MW’s worth of energy infrastructure has been approved by government planning committees, while 3,660 MW are in the environmental review process.


These figures combine to indicate a tremendous 9,979 MW of sustainable energy generation annually, which is just under 50 percent of Chile’s projected energy needs, which are estimated at 20,000 MW annually.


Moreover, the location of many of these new power sources is close to some of Chile’s most power-demanding locations, making for another contribution to energy efficiency.


Chile’s central power grid, the SIC, provides power for over 90 percent of the country’s population. According to projections, 4,323 MW of renewable energy will be generated here.


The SING, Chile’s northern power grid, is also of great importance as it serves the northern mining industry. Renewable projects in progress there are expected to provide 4,510 MW of power to this grid.


While it’s too early to tell if all these plans will come to fruition, if Chile continues along its current path the country has the potential to become a leader in renewable energy usage

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