Hydropower, battery storage seen as vital to Chile grid planning

Monday, March 20, 2017

Long-term planning of Chile's transmission grid must be considered in hydroelectricity and battery-based energy storage systems, according to local energy consultancy Systep.

A proposal for transmission expansion works published in January by national electric system operator CEN did not adequately address either, Systep said in a report published Monday.

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A transmission law passed last year mandates more rigorous and frequent planning of works, as well as the development of power generation "poles," or hubs, in order to optimize transmission infrastructure.

The only hub included in the CEN proposal is the Taltal district of northern Antofagasta region (II), where a tender is underway to award plots of state-owned land to wind farm developers.

Future proposals should consider the immense hydroelectric potential found in the country's south, Systep said, as well as indications on where it makes the most sense to develop large-scale battery storage systems.

In a speech last week at Chile's annual renewable energy dinner, Carlos Finat - executive director of renewable energies trade association Acera - stressed the importance of the transmission law and long-term planning of the grid to facilitate a 100% renewable electricity sector by 2050.