Chile has a geothermal potential of up to 3,800MW and investments of US$25bn

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

This press release from Chile's Ministry of Energy was published using an automatic translation system.

Solar and wind generation have taken the leading role of renewable energy in the country, but there are other actors, such as geothermal energy, which have an important potential to develop.

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This is because, based on the exploration of resources currently available in Chile, there is sufficient exploration to calculate the technically exploitable potential of the explored areas between 1,300 MW and 3,800 MW, with a range of investments between US $ 9 and US $ 25 thousand. millions.

72% of the geothermal potential for electricity production is concentrated in the Arica and Parinacota, Tarapacá and Antofagasta regions and the other 28% is distributed in the existing mountain range between the Metropolitan region and Los Lagos. It is worth mentioning that, our country concentrates more than 25% of the active volcanoes in the world.

This is one of the conclusions of the public-private "Geothermal Table" promoted by the Ministry of Energy, which brought together geothermal concessionaires, service providers, trade associations such as the Geothermal Council, ACHEGEO and ACERA, the academy, the public service and professional schools. This instance was financially supported by the World Bank, which contributed $ 128 million.

Currently, the local geothermal industry is composed of an operating company, project development companies, service providers, R & D centers, universities and trade associations.

In addition, 13 concessions for the exploitation of geothermal energy have been requested from the Ministry of Energy, which are in the process of being processed and in consultation with the indigenous communities, prior to their granting. In addition, 12 exploitation concessions have already been granted, including the one associated with the Cerro Pabellón plant, which started operations last year.

Minister Jiménez: "We have to take advantage of all the renewable energies that we have as a country"

The Minister of Energy, Susana Jiménez , highlighted the participatory work of the Bureau and the willingness to work with all stakeholders, since the "public-private partnership is the best way to design public policies that generate sustainable development and transversal progress ".

The Secretary of State stressed that as "Government of President Sebastián Piñera our energy policy aims to take advantage of all available renewable energies in the country, since we are a country rich in energies of the present and the future, such as solar, wind, geothermal, Water, among others, without a doubt, we are very well standing to face the challenges of a cleaner, more renewable, more sustainable and more economical energy matrix ".

The analyzes carried out by the "Geothermal Table" concluded that, in the short term, for the different configurations of electric matrices it is possible to have an economic operation that meets the safety criteria of the system.

However, the foregoing, it was possible to identify for the medium and long term, an increase in the requirements of flexibility in the national electricity system, determined by the high level of participation reached by renewable energies with time variability.

The proposals to develop geothermal energy

In this instance, the Mesa participants presented a series of proposals to develop geothermal energy, such as modernizing payment by capacity; incorporate measures to integrate greater flexibility and security in the system; search for international cooperation funds to maintain a Risk Mitigation instrument for Geothermal Exploration; create an expert committee for the decarbonization of the electrical matrix; develop a development plan for direct uses of geothermal energy; modify Law 19,657 on geothermal concessions; among other.

"I want to highlight the spirit of seeking agreement and collaboration between the different sectors that have met in the Geothermal Table, the proposals show precisely the diverse views on this matter and turned out to be one of the inputs in the preparation of the Energy Route 2018-2022 Our task as a State is to make the best decisions in defense of the common good, and the full development of our potential ", said Minister Jiménez.