Chile generators stress importance of energy storage

Friday, February 10, 2017

Battery-based energy storage systems will be crucial to Chile's electric power sector over the coming years amid growing participation of variable output wind and solar.

That's according to the country's association of power generators, Generadoras de Chile, which in a report cited the US state of California as an example to follow.

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California accounts for about 15% of the world's grid-connected battery storage capacity, the report said, led by AES Corporation (37.5MW), Tesla Motors (20MW) and Altagas (20MW).

AES has also led the battery energy storage system (BESS) movement in Chile, where subsidiary AES Gener operates grid-connected battery arrays totaling 32MW.

The International Renewable Energy Agency, meanwhile, forecasts that global battery storage capacity will grow to 250GW by 2030, from under 1GW currently.

Chile's new electric power transmission law, promulgated in July 2016, includes language to define what constitutes an energy storage system, which will help to create a regulatory framework for the segment, the report said.

The report also cited a 2016 decree establishing regulations for pumped-storage hydropower as a positive development.

In addition to batteries, Chile's intense solar radiation and extensive coastline make it ideal for storage solutions such as concentrated solar power (CSP) and pumped-storage hydroelectricity.

Construction is currently underway on the Cerro Dominador project in Chile's Antofagasta region (II), which will combine a 110MW CSP plant with a 100MW photovoltaic array to produce clean energy around the clock.

Farther north, local firm Valhalla Energía will combine pumped-storage hydropower and photovoltaic solar to produce the same effect.

Generadoras de Chile members comprise AES Gener (4,133MW installed capacity), Colbún (3,286MW), Orazul Energy (339MW), Enel Generación Chile (6,351MW) Engie Energía Chile (2,053MW), Pacific Hydro (283MW) and Statkraft (212MW).