From Around the World

Chile Climbs to be One of the Top Renewable Energy Markets in the World

Last year Climatescope 2013 ranked Chile the second most attractive renewable energy market in Latin America and the Caribbean and it seems the country has gone from strength to strength in 2014.

Cleantechnica writes that, owing to Chile’s great renewable energy potential, expensive fossil fuel imports, energy-intensive mining operations, and supportive government, the country is now considered by many to be the world’s “top” renewable energy market.

Since taking office in March, the country’s President, Michelle Bachelet, has approved 76 renewable energy projects.

Chile also signed an energy cooperation agreement with the US, affirming both countries’ commitment to work together in renewable energy and smart grids, which includes addressing technical aspects of electric power distribution and issues like decoupling and net metering.

Part of this push to renewable energy is down to the country’s reliance on imported fossil fuels coupled with extreme droughts, which have decreased hydroelectricity production in recent years.

Chile also relies on energy-intensive mining and there is significant potential for renewable energy in the mining and large industrials sectors, as the Cronimet case-study in South Africa demonstrates. Sustainnovate write,

Mining companies that account for approximate one third of the country’s electricity use are increasingly powering their activities with the use of solar power.

In total, $7 billion is estimated to go into the dozens of renewable energy projects planned in La Roja.

“Chile is our most favorite nation,” stated Pattern Energy Chief Executive Officer Michael Garland in an interview with Bloomberg. “It’s got a good economy, a stable political environment and it’s a bit of an energy island with few indigenous energy resources.”

This was reiterated by the head of Ernst & Young’s renewable energy team, Ben Warren, who stated: “Chile is the market with the highest level of activity in the world.”

For the time being, almost all of the renewable energy development in Chile is solar and wind, but the country also possesses considerable potential for geothermal energy development.

Source (in part): James Ayer, Cleantechnica

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