Chile’s Energy Production to Get a Boost from Solar Tech

October 23, 2015 2:47 PM

Chile’s aim is to generate almost 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. Among the top countries looking towards giving a complete facelift towards generating more sustainable and cleaner forms of energy, Chile definitely leaves a mark and has been enjoying global interest for a long time now.

Tap into this market and providing Chile with state-of-the-art Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants in the field of Fresnel technology (aka Linear Fresnel Reflector –LFR- and compact-LFR Technologies) to suffice for its growing demand and also reduce the country’s carbon emission is a massive task now. Chile, in recent years, has witnessed an unprecedented growth spurt in the use of new age technology, especially in the solar energy segment because the geographic location of the country enables it to receive high amounts of direct sunlight. The nation is currently considered by numerous to be the world’s “top” renewable energy market.

The Chilean Market Scenario

While that correct title may be something that could be contended against (the sizes of China, US, and Japan markets are much greater), there’s no denying that the nation’s renewable resources business has a great deal to offer and the one’s in charge are pulling out all the stops — something intensely reflected in the immense premium that numerous significant players have been indicating. President, Michelle Bachelet, has affirmed that 76 renewable energy projects have been sanctioned since she took office back on March 11.

“Chile is our most favorite nation,” stated Pattern Energy Chief Executive Officer Michael Garland in an interview. “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 repeated by the head of Ernst & Young’s renewable energy group, Ben Warren, who expressed: “Chile is the market with the highest level of activity in the world.”

“We are working hard to address Chile’s energy deficit. This year alone, we are incorporating more than 1000 MW of new energy to our system through different non-conventional renewable energies. This is an important step towards our 2025 target of having 20 percent of our energy coming from non-conventional renewable energies,” said Bachelet. “Chile is in a position to be a leader in renewable energy in the Southern Cone, and in the Atacama region we are doing so. We must continue to assume leadership, and we must work as a team to assure the effort goes forward to attract more business and leverage greater economic growth.”

The greater part of the renewable energy advancement in Chile is based on solar and wind; however the nation additionally has significant potential for geothermal energy improvement (137 wells of lava).

The Country’s Target

Chile’s renewable energy limit expanded by 31 MW to 2,273 MW a month ago, equivalent to 11.4% of the principle frameworks, as per the report of the administration’s practical energy centre Cifes. The nation put on stream a smaller than expected hydro plant and the 30-MW Solar Jama photovoltaic park of Rijn Capital Chile.

In this manner, the renewable energy limit became 229 MW in the initial four months of 2015, including 149.5 MW of solar power, 60.6 MW of wind and 18.4 MW of scaled down hydro units. An extra 709.5 MW, the main part of it being wind energy projects, was exhibited to the authorities for assessment.

“These kinds of projects are what our country needs,” said Maximo Pacheco, Minister of Energy. “Northern Chile is one of the places with the highest solar radiation in the world, and therefore is the place to develop alternative renewable energy projects here in the Atacama region. We are confident what with the implementation of this technology; we will achieve the goal set in our Energy Agenda that, by 2025, 20 percent of the country’s energy will come from such sources.”

How Mining Is Affected

Copper is an amazingly important asset for Chile, and the country is putting huge finances in activities to supply cleaner energy to the unfathomable mining framework spread all through the nation. The world’s biggest copper maker, Chile is home to an expected 24% of the entire copper reserves in the world.

Exploiting the sun’s radiation in the Atacama Desert, where a portion of the country’s biggest and most profitable mines are found, is turning into a principle center of Chile’s copper mining industry. Solar based photovoltaic panels in which solar powered boards act as semiconductors, using the desert’s extreme sun oriented radiation into direct current electric, have become the point of interest for many investors.

Northern Chile’s Collahuasi copper mine in the Tarapaca area, one of the country’s largest mining operations, will extend its arrangement of energy utilization to incorporate renewable solar power sources.

The advancement of this 25 megawatt photovoltaic park will allow the Collahuasi mine to meet 13 percent of its daytime power needs by means of solar power. This measure will bring about what might as well be called 43,000 tons less carbon outflows every year by the mine. As indicated by the mine’s chiefs, such measures will keep on exhibiting the Collahuasi mine’s dedication to feasible and cleaner forms of energy.

A French pioneer company in the starting blocks

Having already created a strong and successful base in France and Morocco,  French CNIM’s top notch tech (Concentrated Solar Power plants using Fresnel Technology) uses movable mirrors concentrating the sun’s rays onto a receptor tube in which circulated water is heated and transformed into steam. To make a long story short, this essentially uses Linear Fresnel Reflector-LFR and Compact LFR Technology, which greatly increase solar energy generation. CNIM is yet rightly poised to enter energy-intensive industries that face challenges of distributed generation. With the recent connection that was established between the SIC and the SING grids in Chile, untapped avenues for CSP technology to flourish has been opened up for CNIM, over and above the opportunities for constructing off-the-grid CSP plants to generate electricity for the local mines for example.

Chile’s appetite for the renewable energy market, especially has been a hot topic for discussion. James Williams has even given a clue about it in SolarBusinessFocus: “in recent months, investors seem to have started to acknowledge the seemingly endless value of Chile as a location for large-scale solar projects”, he wrote. Indeed, Chile yet bets on its ecological transition. But not in a careless way according to the Natural Resources Defense Council : “New changes in the regulations governing the evaluation of proposed projects are making it more difficult for companies to successfully meet approval criteria. The head of the Environmental Assessment System, Edesio Carrasco, commented that this is a typical part of the transition to stricter standards and that he expects the situation will work itself out over time.”

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