Due to the surplus of solar generation in Chile over recent years, consumers have been offered electricity for free.According to the Independent, solar capacity on Chile’s central power grid, has more than quadrupled to 770 megawatts in the last three years.
It is reported that in some parts of the country, spot prices dropped to zero on 113 days in the first four months of this year and is expected to beat 2015’s total of 192 days.
While Chile faces several unique challenges, the current situation is said to reflect a broader trend across the world, as governments, citizens and companies look to establish a sustainable path toward clean energy supply. [UK’s poor grid modernisation is curtailing RE integration, says solar body]
Carlos Finat, president of the Chile’s renewable association, told Bloomberg that the Chilean government has set the energy sector as a priority, but planning has been focused on the short-term.
He added that it is necessary to have a long-term focus to solve these issues.
Energy in mining
[quote] A boom in the country’s mining production and economic growth has also boosted energy demands, and has resulted in the development of 29 solar farms in the central grid, with an additional 15 farms planned.
Chile’s energy infrastructure also presents a challenge in that its two primary power grids are isolated from each other. This means that energy cannot be transferred from one grid to another, should the one have an energy surplus.
To address this challenge, the government is working to build a 3,000km (1,865-mile) transmission line to link the two grids by 2017.
The Chilean government is also planning to develop a 753 km line to address congestion on the northern parts of the central grid, where power surpluses are driving prices to zero.
Alex Laskey, president of Opower commented saying, “Fundamental changes have forced the utilities [all over the world] to reconsider their business model.
“They have decided that they don’t want to be a commodity provider any longer. What they want to be is an energy services provider.”
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