Hydroelectric firm produces Chile’s first carbon credits

A renewable energy plant in the south of the country will sell the credits to Chilean businesses – and to the general public – to help them offset their carbon footprint.


Chile is producing its first ever homegrown ‘carbon credits’ at a hydroelectric power station in the central south of the country, near the city of Talca.

The Lircay Hydroelectric Center, which opened in Oct. 2008 and produces 130 megawatts of ‘green’ water-powered electricity every year, has been approved to issue carbon credits by the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism.

Carbon credits issued by ‘green’ companies allow buyers to offset their energy emissions. The Lircay credits will be on sale to both businesses and private individuals in Chile via a project called the Carbon Neutral Program (Programa Carbono Neutral), which will buy them from Lircay and sell them on at prices ranging from US$3 to US$30 (S1,500 to $15,000 Chilean pesos).

Several Chilean retailers have shown interest in the credits, according to a report in national newspaper El Mercurio. The report highlights how the purchase of carbon offsets can help companies brand themselves as ‘greener’, thereby increasing their value and popularity in the eyes of consumers and aiding the country’s healthy economic growth.

The Carbon Neutral Program is dedicated to reducing carbon footprints around the world and offers a ‘carbon calculator’ service on its website, along with advice on curbing energy emissions and the sale of carbon credits.

The Program is run by Fundación Chile, a public-private organization which promotes and supports innovation in the nation’s environmental, agricultural, marine, forestry, education and human resources sectors.