September 8, 2013

Chilean Senate Approves Bill Calling For 20% Renewable Energy, With Changes

The upper house of Chile's parliament has approved a bill to require that utilities source 20% of their power from “unconventional” renewable energy, with changes that including a move of the target date to from 2020 to 2025, and the introduction of a price cap in the bidding system.

These changes were introduced in the lower house of parliament in June 2013, after negotiations with Chilean Minister of Energy Jorge Bunster. The bill is now ready to be submitted for enactment into law.

Slow progress

The “25/20” bill has moved with difficulty since it was originally introduced by Senator Jaime Orpis (UDI) in September 2010. The earlier, more aggressive version of the bill passed the lower house's Mining and Energy Commission, but was consistently opposed by Energy Minister Bunster.

Changes in the bill introduced in the lower house of parliament include a price cap of USD 0.095-0.010/kWh in the bidding system to be established by the law. Bunster has described these changes as “minor modifications”.

The bill's definition of “unconventional” renewable energy (ERNC) specifically excludes large hydroelectric plants, such as the controversial HidroAysén project.

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