Chile’s Astonishing Transformation to Clean Electricity

Ralco Hydroelectric Plant

Ralco Hydroelectric Plant. Credit: Roberto Araya Barckhahn

According to the World Bank report published in the beginning of the year 2017, Latin America has the world’s cleanest form of electricity.

It is also true that Latin America (South America) largely relies on dams to generate its energy need, which is called as hydropower. In this region, Chile has been a pioneer in shifting towards clean energy. It was one of the first countries in the world to privatize and deregulate its electricity sector, by enforcement of the Electricity Law way back in the year 1982. This move of privatization by the then government made a gateway to the rising market driven nature of the country’s electricity sector. It also opened the market for a lot of foreign investments and in turn the export opportunities of the energy across the grid.

The energy transformation in Chile is mainly due to the electricity generated from the wind, solar and volcanoes. The Ernst & Young’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index ranks Chile as the fourth in the world ( index for renewable energy generation) at present where it was in the 34th position in the year 2011. Thirty positions jump in seven years is a leap and bound jump. The country has achieved such a major feat of impressive growth in renewable energy with the wind and solar capacity quadrupling in just last five years, and that’s remarkable.

One need not attribute this kind of growth to only power generation, but also to transmission and distribution sectors which have also grown in the country and rapidly welcoming foreign investment and expertise required in the infrastructure expansion and the implementation of smarter grid technologies and advanced metering systems. Chile has also made a lot of changes further to its 1982 law and the recent energy policies are set to look ahead very ambitious targets for conservation and demand management of the electricity,  thriving for the energy efficiency and energy management technologies.

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