Press Release

Anillo project awarded to UAI studied the uncertainty in the future use of renewable energy in the Chilean energy transition

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, January 12, 2023

By Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez
January 2023

This is a machine translation of the original press release issued in Spanish

* For 3 years, a group of researchers from the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences and the Business School of the Adolfo Ibáñez University developed mathematical models for the quantification of the uncertainty associated with the generation of renewable energies, for the design of networks reliable in the face of natural events resulting from climate change, and for planning the energy transition to clean energy. They also studied changes in the electricity markets, product of a greater penetration of renewable energies.

* The project will have its official closure in the seminar "Challenges and tools for the adaptation of energy systems to climate change", on Friday, January 20, between 8:30 and 12:30, in face-to-face format (UAI Errázuriz Headquarters, located at Av. Presidente Errázuriz 3485, Las Condes).

With the purpose of studying the adaptation of Chilean energy systems to climate change, in December 2020 a group of academics and researchers from the Adolfo Ibáñez University, Faculty of Engineering and Sciences and Business School, were awarded the Ring Project ACT-192094 , which analyzed various aspects to evaluate the use of renewable energies in the energy transition with a view to achieving a significant (or total) reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050.

The project was in charge of a team of UAI researchers versatile in their experience, it lasted 3 years and involved funds of 450 million pesos. Tito Homem-de-Mello, academic at the UAI Business School; Javiera Barrera, Roberto Cominetti, Eduardo Moreno, Daniel Olivares and Francisca Jalil-Vega, academics from the UAI Faculty of Engineering and Sciences; developed mathematical models to study different aspects of the energy transition.

The research axes were the quantification of the uncertainty of the climate to use renewable sources such as wind, hydrological and solar energy systems (to provide electricity and heating), energy planning to define the best investment in the energy matrix with zero emissions of CO2 in 2050, and the impact of renewable energies in electricity markets.

Tito Homem-de-Mello, Director of the project, full professor at the UAI Business School and member of the Center for Energy Transition (CENTRA) of the UAI Faculty of Engineering and Sciences, highlighted the projections of the results of this study as a contribution not only to decision-making in terms of public energy policies but also to investment in research and innovation projects by universities and the industry itself. And he added: "Chile needs decisions to be made today without knowing with certainty what will happen tomorrow in energy matters. To quantify the uncertainty of the future use of alternative clean energies, we use sophisticated mathematical models in order to understand these processes and generate predictive solutions supported by on data obtained from different academic sources and from the Ministry of Energy. For example, the models take into account the temporal and spatial correlation between renewable power plants, which are climate dependent, which already poses a significant mathematical challenge."

The specialist explains that analyzing the adaptation of energy systems to climate change also implies evaluating different aspects, such as the physical risks associated with extreme events of nature resulting from climate change such as hurricanes, floods, fires, which affect energy systems and will continue to happen, as well as other technical challenges in designing resilient and reliable networks. During the research, learning from the energy transition in other countries was also included, as well as the incorporation of green hydrogen; however, the project gave birth to specific mathematical models for the Chilean reality, considering its laws, geography and resources.

Carlos Toro, head of the Energy Planning and Innovation Unit of the Ministry of Energy, pointed out: "achieving carbon neutrality before 2050 is a country challenge that requires joint work between the different agents of society, in particular, the public sector, the private sector, academia and civil society. In this sense, research, development and innovation are the basis of the technical work that leads us towards a sustainable future. This continuous search to find the best solutions, and also to educate about the consequences of inaction in the face of climate change, is a responsibility of every sector, so that the different research projects such as the UAI make it possible to contribute substantially to decision-making and informed decisions, promoting ideal market conditions for the energy future, as well as competitive prices. The new tools delivered, and the issues raised in this work of the UAI will help us to better understand and represent the territorial characteristics that different people will live throughout the country and will be an essential input for Long-Term Energy Planning and for the development of the strategic infrastructure and national interest that will enable this mandate to be carbon neutral”.

For Daniel Olivares, director of the Center for Energy Transition (CENTRA) of the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences UAI, "the effects of climate change in our country threaten to reduce the availability of our energy resources and the reliability of our supply networks, impacting negatively our economic activity and the quality of life of the population.Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to understand the nature of the new risks that we could face with increasing frequency and severity, and from this to adapt our regulation and management models so that the energy sector as a whole can adapt efficiently and safely".

The closure of this Anillo ANID project will be carried out with the seminar "Challenges and tools for the adaptation of energy systems to climate change", on Friday, January 20, between 8:30 and 12:30, in face-to-face format (UAI Errázuriz Headquarters, located at Av. Presidente Errázuriz 3485, Las Condes). During the activity, the development of new mathematical models and computational methods that arise to support the private and public sector in adapting energy systems and markets to the great uncertainties and risks derived from climate change will be shown.

The meeting will also include the participation of the Norwegian guest Asgeir Tomasgard, Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), director of the Norwegian Center for Energy Transition Strategies (FME NTRANS) and the NTNU Energy Transition Initiative; Francisco Muñoz, former UAI academic and current director of research at Generadoras de Chile AG; Renato Cabrera, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences; and Juan Carlos Jobet, Dean of the UAI Business School, former Minister of Mining and Energy.

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