Chile's Bachelet: Govt making good on energy promises

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Chile is making steady progress on the pledges laid out in the government's 2014-18 energy agenda, according to President Michelle Bachelet.

Chile had 42 power generation projects totaling 3,876MW under construction as of March, Bachelet said in her annual state of the nation address, up from 28 projects totaling 1,949MW in March 2014.

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More than one-third of the projects from this March were from renewable sources, Bachelet said.

The president also cited Chile's installation of nearly 1GW of non-conventional renewable energy capacity in 2014.

The government will send an energy efficiency bill to congress this year, with the goal of saving the same amount of energy by 2025 as what "a thermoelectric plant generates."

To that end, Bachelet cited a government program to install energy-efficient public lighting in 85 towns during 2015-16.

Bachelet also cited the launch of construction by utility GDF Suez on a project to interconnect the trunk line systems of Chile's two major power grids.

Bachelet said the government will submit legislation to address the wild variation in electricity bills among regulated market clients in different parts of the country, under which no one will pay more than 10% above the national average.

A separate bill, Bachelet said, will ensure that homes and small businesses in towns like Mejillones, Colbún and Coronel, where a disproportionate amount of the country's thermoelectric and hydroelectric power comes from, will see "a [significant] reduction" in their electricity bills.

Pictured: Chile's President Michelle Bachelet and energy minister Máximo Pacheco signed a decree to interconnect the country's two main power grids.