Chile moves forward with development of geo-thermal energy

The Ministry of Energy announced that offers have been received from 13 local and foreign investors who aim to develop geo-thermal energy concessions at 70 locations in 20 different parts of the country.

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Chile – girded by the Andes Mountains – is home to 36 active volcanoes. The country´s government is seeking to harness this alternative energy source to meet the nation’s growing energy needs – its goal is to produce at least 1,000 MW of geo-thermal energy in the mid term.

The 70 bids announced this week covered all proposed concessions and came from 13 companies, both national and international. Development of these concessions is expected to result in investment of over US$200 million.

Energy Ministry officials were pleased to note a growing interest by the private sector to explore this important new energy resource: a similar bidding process earlier this year attracted only 59 bids from nine companies, and some concessions did not receive any bids at all.

Chile has the largest unexploited potential for geothermal energy of any country in the world. At present it generates no energy from geothermal sources. In 2008 there were two volcanic eruptions in the country – the first at the Llaima Volcano and the second at the Chaitén Volcano.