Chile launches 2050 energy plan

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chile's energy ministry launched Energía 2050, a project to create a long-term energy policy over the next 18 months with a focus on community involvement.

An advisory committee of public, private and academic industry actors will work with 10 teams of experts on specific sector-related issues to form the plan, which was promised in President Michelle Bachelet's 2014-18 energy agenda.

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The teams will work to create laws and regulations concerning issues like energy efficiency, non-conventional renewable energy (NCRE) generation, transmission projects and relations with Chile's indigenous communities.

"As the president has stated, we want to move from a reactive energy policy to a long-term strategy," energy minister Máximo Pacheco said in a speech in capital Santiago.

Bachelet's agenda aims to keep marginal costs and consumer electricity prices under control by promoting efficient energy use and investment in diverse generation projects.

It calls for a 30% reduction in marginal costs on the central SIC grid, a 20% slash in power auction prices and a 20% contribution by NCRE generators to the country's installed capacity by 2018.

The long-term plan must include concrete goals of its own to be reached by 2035 and a general strategy for 2035-50.

Pacheco cited initiatives like Andean interconnection, geothermal generation and hydroelectric projects of all sizes as necessary areas of focus.

"I think one of the problems we've had until now is that electric power development has been very tied up in politics," René Muga, head of Chile's generators association, told BNamericas after the speech.

Muga is also part of the advisory committee.

"Every four years, a new government arrives that understandably has its own vision for the country's development," he said. "If we can't create a plan that transcends governmental regime changes, I don't think we'll be looking at a stable future for investment in the sector."

Pacheco said the 2050 plan is modeled after similar long-term strategies used by Switzerland, Denmark, Canada, Uruguay, the UK, the European Union and the US state of California.