During a presentation at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (USM) in the city of Viña del Mar, the US expert Daniel Kammen, a PhD in physics from Harvard University, highlighted Chile’s high potential for the development of renewable energy.
According to Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) and the Transportation Sustainability Research Center, Chilean geography has a vast variety of resources for generating electricity from the sun, the wind, the sea, and geothermal sources, an attractive energy variety that could become a pole of economic development.
The expert stated that Chile has better conditions for the development of nonconventional renewable energies than other places considered pioneers in the matter like California, Portugal and New Zealand.
Based on this reality, Kammen said that Chile needs to ask itself which energy sources are worth investing in and to consider conditions like the development of mining activities in the northern part of the country, where there is excellent potential for solar and also geothermal power. However, he did make it clear that this is not about “totally abandoning fossil fuels for renewable energy,” either.
During the presentation, which he was invited to by the energy economics master’s degree program of the Chilean university’s mechanical engineering department and the US embassy, Kammen also referred to the importance of energy for the global economy and to the job opportunities and energy security that the different alternatives offer.
Along these lines, he highlighted the importance of staking a bet on innovation, mentioning as examples the diverse energy efficiency programs implemented in the United States and other developed countries. “California saved US$ 400,000 per year by using T-5 light bulbs, compared to the old incandescent lights,” he said.
In addition to having a doctorate from Harvard, Kammen is an expert in energy policy, in particular with regard to energy systems’ impact on health and the environment, as well as climate change, gas emissions, and resource consumption. He also works as an academic in public policy at the Goldman School of the University of California, Berkeley.