Chile's energy sector attracts US$17bn since 2014

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Chile's energy sector has attracted US$17bn of investment since President Michelle Bachelet took office in March 2014.

That's more than any other industry in the country, energy minister Andrés Rebolledo said Tuesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony (in side photo) for the 48MW Cerro Pabellón geothermal plant in Ollagüe, Antofagasta region (II).

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During the same span, non-conventional renewable energy sources have tripled their share of the national generation mix, Rebolledo said.

However, due to the flood of investment in new capacity over the last three years, there will likely be a drought of investment in new generation projects starting from 2023 and lasting until 2027-29, local paper Pulso reported this week, citing comments from Systep consultancy founder and academic Hugh Rudnick.

Cerro Pabellón (in photo below), South America's first geothermal plant to enter operation, required US$320mn of investment and was developed by Geotérmica del Norte (GDN), a joint venture between Enel Green Power Chile and national oil company Enap. The plant began injecting power into Chile's northern SING power grid in March.

Enel Green Power Chile and Enap hold stakes of 83.65% and 16.35% in GDN, respectively.


Rebolledo's comments follow news that Enap, through subsidiary Enap Sipetrol Argentina, will invest US$47mn over three years at the El Turbio Este exploration concession in Argentina's Santa Cruz province.

The first phase of the project will entail a 3D seismic campaign, Enap said in a statement.

The provincial government awarded the concession, which is located in the Austral basin, to Enap Sipetrol last week.