Chile set to become a pioneer in tidal and wave power

New pilot projects on Chile’s southern coast could revolutionize country’s energy grid, offering a clean, green alternative

Chile is set to become the regional pioneer of sea power technology thanks to new green-thinking power initiatives that will pilot on the Andean country’s coast in the near future.

Consisting of two pilot programs — one focusing on tidal current energy, the other on wave energy — this exploratory scheme hopes to open the door to the  country’s huge sea power potential.

A report by the Inter-American Development Bank (BID) suggests that sea power could revolutionize the country’s power grid, producing clean alternatives and making Chile more energy-independent.

BID climate change and sustainability officer Christopher Tagkwerker explained the significance of the two new pilot programs and the potential of other previously untapped clean energy sources in the country.

“Chile has a great opportunity before it: To change its current foreign energy dependence and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. In fact, it is one of the countries with the greatest resources for marine and solar energy in the entire region,” Tagwerker told America Economia.

Tidal current energy harnesses the enormous amounts of power generated by the movement of large volumes of water using rotor machines at a horizontal angle, similar to wind-turbines. The machines can either be fixed to the sea floor or float on the surface.

The project will receive a US$ 2.95 million dollar grant from the BID to cover construction costs as well as further funds to cover installation during the pilot programs.

Both projects will be implemented by private companies who are to be chosen from an open competition organized by the Chilean government.

Chile has become a hotbed for sustainable energy projects and green thinking in recent years. Several solar energy plants operate in the sun-drenched Atacama Desert of Northern Chile, and in August the go-ahead was given for a further huge facility to be built in Northern Chile that will generate over 400 megawatts of power, massively increasing the Andean nations sustainable energy output.