Chile has aggressively moved forward on an electricity transmission law which benefits solar, as well as other sources of energy.
Following the Chilean Congress’s passage of a major electricity transmission law, experts contend this will help the development of both renewable and non-renewable energy projects in the country.
Under the adopted policy, a new national interconnected power system will be established alongside a new independent operator.
Chile has benefitted from a recent boom in renewable energy. As reported by pv-tech, this nation was the first Latin American country to surpass 1 GW in solar PV capacity earlier this year.
But there has been a downside to such a boom, as some solar projects in north central Chile have already experienced significant revenue cutbacks due to a weak power system and delays in attempts to upgrade and expand the transmission system.
Carlos Finat, executive director of the Chilean Renewable Energy Association, has said the modernization of the Electricity Transmission Act was a long time coming. Expansion of the system is expected to help to distribute energy and allow clean energy being generated mostly in the north of the country to reach different regions of Chile. Solar projects tend to be concentrated in the North of the country near the Atacama Desert, which has high levels of solar irradiation, but an inefficient transmission infrastructure for supply the electricity to power-hungry cities.
Before the new law was passed, Finat pointed out investments in transmission were being delayed due to specific regulations for expanding the system. Now, with this the new law in effect, it should allow for a more in-depth analysis of requirements of the power generation systems in order to infrastructure can be built in advance of rising demand.
Minister of Resources Victor Osorio said the newly enacted law challenges the country to move towards a more diversified, competitive and sustainable energy matrix, with an increasingly growing share of renewables.
He added: “The main objective of the bill is to ensure that the transmission favors the development of a competitive market, to facilitate the transport of energy from clean sources to consumption centers, and to contribute to lower energy prices for households and businesses, allowing more competition and the incorporation of new players.
Construction on a project to connect the Northern Interconnected System grid (SING) with the Central Interconnected System grid (SIC) in Chile started in July last year.
Chile’s installed capacity reached 1,217 MW at the end of May this year. We shall keep a close eye on how renewable electricity production fares in the coming year.