Chile's influential energy minister steps down

By
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet announced the resignation of energy minister Máximo Pacheco on Wednesday.

Pacheco told local media that he will leave his post to work on the presidential campaign of Ricardo Lagos, who served previously as president from 2000 to 2006, and is again seeking the country's highest office in the 2017 election. Chilean law allows presidents to serve multiple terms, but not consecutively.

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Bachelet picked economist Andrés Rebolledo, who leaves his job as director of foreign economic relations, to step in for Pacheco and head energy. Rebolledo's résumé includes stints as Chile's ambassador to Uruguay and as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank in the US. He holds economic degrees from Universidad de Chile and Madrid's Universidad Complutense.

Rebolledo first joined Chile's foreign relations ministry in the 1990s, when he oversaw Mexico, Central America and Latin American integration association Alado.

PACHECO

Pacheco's ministry is credited with restoring investor confidence and competition in the local energy sector through a series of vital reforms.

These include an overhaul of the rules governing electricity auctions, making them more accessible for wind and solar projects; a new transmission law designed to the timely completion and long-term planning of high-tension lines; and a law that reduces the disparity in electricity bills paid by residents of different regions in the country.

In his keynote address at BNamericas' 6th Latam Power Generation Summit in August, Pacheco said that the amount of generation projects under construction in Chile had surpassed 4GW, compared to approximately 2GW when Bachelet took office in 2014.

Under Pacheco, work also began on a 600km, 2x500kV transmission line connecting Chile's northern SING and central SIC power grids, a project considered vital for the development of renewables and stabilization of electricity prices.