Universities incentivize development of solar power in northern Chile
Representatives of three of the country’s universities met with the president of the Chamber of Deputies to obtain support for a draft bill allowing the solar potential in the northern part of the country to be exploited.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In a visit with recently appointed President of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies Alejandra Sepúlveda, representatives of the universities of Antofagasta, Católica del Norte and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile talked to her about the importance of diversifying the energy matrix of the Northern Integrated System (SING).
In this way, the academic authorities expressed their certainty that achieving energy independence in northern Chile is possible with the development of solar power, a move that would also help to foster a new industry along the chain of production for this resource, which, international experts have acknowledged, is abundant in the northern part of the country.
Carlos Portillo, an expert from the Universidad Católica del Norte, told the president of the lower house of Congress that there is a need for a research and development (R&D) plant for solar energy, for which they committed their support as it would be very important to consolidating the future Antofagasta Solar Platform.
Likewise, he told Sepúlveda of the existence of a technology transfer agreement between the regional universities and one of the world’s main solar technology companies, which will allow advanced human capital to be trained in solar energy in Europe.
Faced with this reality, the representative of the Chamber of Deputies pledged her support for the bill, which is being promoted not just by legislators from the region, but by those from other parts of the country, a positive reality when one considers that the entire chamber must review the initiative.
The central part of the legal text requests that the Economy, Finance and Mining Ministries supply the necessary funds to investigate the development potential in the northern part of the country and to determine the viability and implementation to turn these regions into a pole of clean energy intended for use in mining, industry, and Chilean cities.
It should be noted that some progress has been made in the development of solar power in the country. Arica, the northern gateway to Chile, is currently developing a project that could lead to the use of solar power on a mass scale. Likewise, a tunnel that will use solar powered lighting will be built near Iquique, while in the south some rural health centers will attain energy independence with the installation of solar panels on their roofs.