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Chile renewables watch: Installed capacity surpasses 25%

Bnamericas Published: Friday, October 16, 2020
Chile renewables watch: Installed capacity surpasses 25%

Non-conventional renewable installed capacity in Chile now accounts for more than 25% of Chile’s total installed power generation capacity.

Renewables capacity reached 6,733MW in September, including projects in operation and in the testing stage, according to the latest report issued by sector association Acera.

This means non-conventional renewable capacity now contributes a bigger share of total capacity than conventional hydroelectric units such as dams and run-of-the-river plants, which together make up 23.9% of available capacity.

Thermal still accounts for 50% of the total, while battery energy storage systems (BESS), now comprise 0.2% of the total, with installed capacity of 54MW.

Among non-conventional renewables, photovoltaic units are by far the most common at 3,224MW, followed by wind with 2,318MW. Small hydroelectric projects (558MW), biomass (414MW) and thermosolar projects (110MW) also make significant contributions.

Among thermal units, the field is split between coal and natural gas, each providing 18.5% of the system’s total capacity. Diesel also makes up a significant participation, with 12.2% of the total.

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A new report by consulting firm Valgesta Energía has shown that curtailments for renewable energy projects in Chile’s power grid reached their highest levels in more than a year.

Renewable operators were forced to curtail 36.9GWh, or 3% of their total output, due to congestion issues in the country’s transmission networks, the highest level since January 2019, when curtailments reached 42.4GWh, or 5% of total output.

Curtailment occurs when grid coordinator CEN orders an operator not to inject energy into the grid that would otherwise be produced, because there is no available capacity to transport it in the transmission system.

Curtailment issues in Chile’s grid were alleviated last year after the Cardones-Polpaico transmission line, connecting Chile’s northern and central regions, went into operation. Since then, they had consistently remained below 1%.

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