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    Chile advances in its aspirations to become Carbon Neutral, new projects continue to arrive


    June 13, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras

     

      The energy of the future is already here, Chile is one of the countries that is making the most progress to achieve Carbon Neutral status and incorporates the development of new sustainable technologies in a habitat that makes it unique for those who undertake new investments in this field.

      This has been understood by companies coming from all over the world one of them is X-Elio, Spanish born in 2015, communicated a year ago its objective to expand into new geographical and technological latitudes pointing to storage and hydrogen as the main ones at this stage.

      Today they announce their first Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project, which will be installed in their 58 megawatt (MW) Uribe solar photovoltaic plant, located in the Antofagasta region. This is a fully integrated 5MWh lithium-ion power storage system, together with energy conversion systems and medium voltage transformers. The commissioning of this battery technology will take place during the second quarter of 2023, and it will be operational within three months of its commissioning.

      Renewables with storage gain greater penetration and the grid is favored with new advanced services. X-Elio aims to grow in this field, their goal is to expand their portfolio to ventures, they expect the sum of them to put them above 1 GWh by the end of 2022.

      The area where we locate Uribe Solar is one of the places in Chile where we can find the highest levels and the best solar radiation in the world. We are talking about four thousand hours of sunshine per year in the Chilean Norte Grande.

      In this area we find the Atacama Desert with more than 105,000 km2 of surface, equivalent to half of the United Kingdom, occupies five geographical regions of Chile. This area is one of the most arid and of greater global brightness, becoming a perfect space to produce electric fluid supported by the light of the sun.

      Atacama offers us privileged skies to receive the sun's rays in its maximum splendor. So much so that it receives 2,500 GHI (direct solar radiation index) annually, an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius and an average phosphorescence 65% higher than that of Europe. Take note, if they decided to exploit 5% of its capacity, it could supply the whole of Chile with electricity emission from clean sources.

      Chile aspires to reach its Carbon Neutral status by 2050 and wants to be known and recognized as a future world laboratory for renewables in the southern hemisphere. They are working hard to diversify their generation matrix.

      In addition to solar, wind farms are in operation throughout the country.

      The more than 6,000 kilometers of coastline is a favorable reality for the promotion of tidal power. The central and southern rivers provide an electrical potential of 11 GW. The Andes have a high geothermal capacity and the forests open space for biomass to flourish.

      Another recent case is that of Generadora Metropolitana, which had informed us some time ago of obtaining financing of US$980 million to build the CEME 1 solar plant in María Elena; the conversion to gas of the Los Vientos power plant in Llay-Llay, Valparaíso Region, together with refinancing of liabilities, working capital for the operation and progress of other initiatives. This company is owned by the French group EDF and the Chilean firm AME.

      When talking about the construction of the CEME 1 photovoltaic plant, we must say that it will be the largest in Chile with 480 MW, to which 128 MW of flexible and clean capacity will be added, through the conversion of diesel to Natural Gas from the Los Vientos power plant, this fuel is key for the energy transition of the local matrix.

      Work began in the middle of the Atacama Desert, 5 km from the commune of María Elena in the Antofagasta Region. The photovoltaic scheme perfected by Generadora Metropolitana covers a total area of 435 hectares and contemplates a transmission line of approximately 9.6 km, which will be connected to the National Electric System at the Miraje Substation. The initiative will include the installation of 860 thousand high-tech solar panels. The work will last more than a year and will create 750 direct jobs.

      The first structures have already been installed and earthworks began last December. The construction will be in the hands of Power China. The company will be in charge and responsible for environmental issues. Better efficiency in land use and higher power per hectare are planned. The robotization of the cleaning of the panels will allow savings of between 80% and 90% of water. In the future, they are contemplating a site to add electric fluid storage in BESS, which will be used when there is no sun.

      These are two of the many projects underway that pursue, among other things, the decarbonization of Chile. Taking advantage of the favorable regulatory framework, the production option is to go for easily erected enclosures that achieve maximum performance without affecting the ecosystem.

      In addition, there is an obligation to promote the improvement of distribution lines in order to undertake large-scale industrial plans. Currently, limited capacity causes delays in the foundation of larger proposals.

      In conclusion, we affirm that generating power in large capacity and environmentally friendly industries will continue to attract domestic and foreign investment. Chile has a mature solar sector, which is looking for proposals that provide confidence and maintenance at reduced costs in the long term. We are talking about intelligent engineering, minimum maintenance costs and attractive assets to finance, are requirements to competitively transform the sun's rays into electricity.

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