Chile plans for sustainable reconstruction

In light of the magnitude of the catastrophe, president Sebastián Piñera indicated his wish to take advantage of the opportunity to utilize non-conventional energy sources when rebuilding housing and infrastructure, and thus turn the country into an international leader in sustainable reconstruction.

The authorities are assessing certain mechanisms to invest resources in efficient and renewable technologies
The authorities are assessing certain mechanisms to invest resources in efficient and renewable technologies

Four days after the earthquake of 27 February that affected localities and cities in the center-south of the country, the U.S. secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, arrived in Chile to personally offer the support and assistance of the United States’ government to the then president Michelle Bachelet. The tragedy cost the lives of more than 300 Chileans, according to the latest official figures.

After that meeting, Clinton met with Sebastián Piñera, who a few days later took office as president of the Republic. While with Bachelet the more urgent issues were addressed, such as the provision of satellite telephones to help restore communications for emergency tasks, with Piñera the secretary of State focused on long-term reconstruction solutions.

After the meeting, the new president communicated to the media his hope that the U.S. experience in the spheres of renewable energy, energy efficiency and housing will be the major components of the reconstruction effort and the main concern of his administration.

“We asked (Clinton) for collaboration in matters in which the United States is very knowledgeable, such as environmentally-friendly, non-conventional renewable energy, technology in the reconstruction of housing –and particularly prefabricated housing– that can be extremely helpful”, indicated the head of State.

Prior to the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that devastated major localities along the Chilean coastline, the president had expressed his interest in developing the sectors of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

With this objective in mind, the authorities are assessing certain mechanisms to invest resources in efficient and renewable technologies with a view to implementing them in housing, public services and electricity. If this could be achieved, Chile would become an international leader in terms of clean energy and urban planning.

They also seek to consolidate a long-term policy implemented during the Bachelet administration, which promoted the creation of wind farms and stimulated the development of non-conventional energy sources, including biofuels. In addition, this new infrastructure was safeguarded by a modern and transparent constitutional framework through the creation of the Ministry for the Environment, one of the former president’s final achievements.

This post is also available in Spanish