Chile's energy policy and outlook have both evolved dramatically in the last few years, according to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report released on 23 January 2018. With the National Energy Policy 2050 being adopted in 2015, and the electricity sector, in particular, undergoing rapid development, the country has quickly become a world-class destination for investment in solar and wind technologies and development.
At around 4,300 kilometres long and on average 177 km wide, the unique and extraordinary geography of continental Chile holds a number of very specific challenges for the country's energy infrastructure. However, its natural resources and geography remain its greatest assets. The Atacama desert in the far north of the country provides a spectacular solar resource, with more than 9 kilowatt hours per square metre per daythe highest rate in the world. On the other end of the country in the extreme south, Chile enjoys the best onshore wind resources in the world (together with Argentina). Finally, the world's longest national mountain ridge and shoreline (running in parallel), provide a high potential for wind and hydropower, as well as geothermal, and in the future, wave energy. By continuing to develop renewable-energy resources based on its incredible geography, the country will enjoy not only the obvious energy benefits but also the economic and social benefits, with a dramatic increase in GDP expected.
While 40% of Chile's power already comes from renewable sources, renewable electricity still presents as a greatly untapped potential for additional electricity. The country's electricity needs are set to continue growing at a quick rate, having already tripled over the past 20 years. The government has already linked the increased demand with renewable energy sources, and has set a target for a 60% share of renewable power by 2035 and then 70% by 2050.
The government's targets remain very attainable, given the costs of wind and solar technologies have already fallen greatly and continue to decline, while the energy potential for wind and solar remains...