Latin America Report: Geothermal Gaining Steam in Chile

Enel Green Power announced this week that it has been awarded three more geothermal exploration concessions in Chile, moving it closer to opening up one of the world’s most abundant geothermal resources.

Two of the concessions are in areas within 70 kilometers of Santiago and the third is 1,000 kilometers north of the nation’s capital. Enel Green Power now holds eight geothermal exploration concessions in Chile.

Geotermica del Norte,  a subsidiary of Enel Green Power, is close to entering the construction phase on a 40 MW facility in the region of Antofagasta in the northern part of Chile. Once completed, it will be the first geothermal facility in South America, and it could ultimately extend the resource’s reach from its current stronghold in the United States and Mexico.

“Thanks to more than 100 years of experience in the sector, EGP has the ability and know-how to sustain the challenge of being the first to generate electricity with this technology in Chile, where an estimated over 3,300 MW geothermal potential exists,” said Francesco Starace, Enel Green Power CEO, in a statement.


SOLAR IN CHILE

Major Solar Project Planned in Chile: Spanish energy company Ibereolica plans to build the largest solar energy park in Chile and submitted its $2.6 billion project to the environmental authorities for approval. Ibereolica said Tuesday it plans to build the 360 MW park in the Tocopilla municipality in the Atacama desert in northern Chile. The project will supply energy to the northern SING grid, which feeds most of Chile’s energy intensive copper industry.

Solar Hot in Chile: Between 2011 and 2012 a total of 1,400 megawatts of solar photovoltaic projects are undergoing, or have undergone environmental impact assessments. Declared installed costs range from $2.2 to $5.3 per watt, but some private bids are offering solar PV at $1.3 to $1.6 dollars per watt.

Solar, Mining Teaming Up: Chile’s Atacama Desert is teeming with opportunities for copper mining and solar companies alike. The global demand for copper is boosting production in the mineral rich region of northern Chile. And those companies are looking for cheap, quick sources of power to fuel these 24/7 operations.  


IN THE NEWS

Hydro in Latin America: A report titled “Hydro Power Market to 2020 — Energy Management Strategies and Green Funds to Drive Emerging Markets in Latin America and Africa,” examines the regulatory framework and infrastructure in 17 countries to forecast the potential for major and emerging hydropower markets.

Mexico Plans Run Into Criticism: Mexico is not only lagging in the development of renewable energies, but some of the projects that are being carried out actually pose a threat to the environment and biodiversity, such as a wind farm on the island of Cozumel, activists say

California OKs Mexico Wind Plan: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a contract that would make San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) the first U.S. utility to import wind energy from Mexico.

An Eye of Brazil’s Wind: The world’s fifth largest wind turbine manufacturer, Suzlon, along with China’s CGN Wind Energy Co, will jointly develop 800 MW of domestic and international projects over the next three years, and the companies are looking to Brazil as one of the key markets for investment.

Work Starts of 22 MW Peru Solar Farm: The San José Group SA has begun construction on a 22 MW solar photovoltaic plant in the Tacna region of Southern Peru. At 80,000 PV modules near Tacna, Peru, the plant will be far larger than any currently commissioned PV plant in Latin America. The San José Group plans to commission the plant by the end of 2012.

Court Rules Against Wind Farm: Chile’s Supreme Court suspended on Friday the environmental approval of a controversial wind farm planned for Chiloe Island in southern Chile. Many scientists and environmental groups had expressed concern that the Chilean-Swedish owned Ecopower’s plan to install 56 wind turbines on Mar Brava beach at Chiloe could threaten one of the most important habitats in the Southern Hemisphere for the endangered great blue whale due to increased boat traffic and possible acoustic contamination from the construction and operation of the wind farm.

Largest Solar Farm in Puerto Rico: Puerto Rican company AES Ilumina, a subsidiary of AES Solar, has announced the construction of a 24MW solar power plant in Guayama, Puerto Rico, the first utility-scale plant on the Caribbean island.


BY THE NUMBERS

High Demand, Little Wind or Solar

Argentines used a record amount of electricity for the month of February as a growing economy and higher temperatures boosted demand by 10.2 percent. Here’s where it came from.

Thermogenerated: 68.7%
Hydroelectric: 25.9%
Nuclear: 5.1%.
Wind, solar: 0.11%


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