Photo: Marcelo Mascareño
By Grant Devine
Chile is blessed with an abundance of renewable energy resources. Non-conventional renewable energy (NCRE) is defined by Chile’s energy ministry as energy derived from solar, wind, small-hydro (less than 20MW), biomass, biogas, geothermal and marine sources. The vast potential of these resources along Chile’s varied geography has inspired confidence in Michelle Bachelet’s government to set a target of acquiring 70% of its energy from renewable source by 2050. While an ambitious goal, their confidence is not misplaced. In a recent tender by the Chilean National Energy Commission for contracts to supply 1,200 gigawatt hours of energy to unregulated customers in Chile, wind and solar outbid coal and fossil fuels with lower prices to win 100% of the contracts. With such promising economics, foreign and domestic capital has poured into the country’s renewable sector, which saw $3.4 billion in investment in 2015, up 141% from the previous year. Chile’s renewable energy market is changing the game and has placed itself at the forefront of the global effort to mitigate climate change.