Chile would be able to reach 30% of renewables in 2030 and 100% in 2050 according to ACERA, the Chilean association of renewable energies. Solar and wind capacity is immense: only Atacama has a potential of 23,000 MW.
The first two auctions held in 2016 tendered about 16,300 GWh of energy to meet the demand for a period of 20 years as from 2021. These auctions allowed the average price of the tender to be lowered from 55.1 $ / MWh to 47.6 $ / MWh.
In addition, the Government of Chile has announced the third Renewable Energies auction for the month of October. This tender provides for the construction of facilities that will produce 4,200 GWh per year to meet the needs of the Interconnected Systems (SIC and SING) as of January 1, 2023 for a period of 20 years.
To support this demand requirement, ACERA plans to install about 9,000 MW of wind power, and about 18,000 MW of photovoltaic power, and about 3,000 MW of solar thermal installations.
According to ACERA, the share of renewable energies in Chile’s energy mix represents 14% today. This is contributed by the 4,448 MW of green capacity installed throughout the country. The photovoltaic technology stands out with 1,880 MW thanks mainly to the installations of the Chilean desert of Atacama, one of the planet´s regions with the most number of sun hours. Next, wind energy with 1,424 MW installed, mini-hydro with 615 MW, bioenergy with 481 MW and geothermal with 48 MW.
Atacama has a potential of 23,000 MW
However the potential of the Andean country is still immense. According to El Diario de Atacama, the potential of the desert area exceeds 23,000 MW and to date only one tenth has been installed. It should be noted that the Atacama area requires a lot of energy because of the demand from mining companies. “Out of the 29 generating facilities operating today, 19 are from renewable sources and 17 of them are solar plants, a factor that has influenced the diversification and growth of the energy matrix from March 2014 to date, where it is possible to verify that of the total energy produced, 46% is of the solar and wind type. “
According to the same newspaper, the investment in the area since 2014 amounts to 12,195 million dollars corresponding to 63 projects: 47 power plants and 16 evacuation lines and electrical substations.