Flexibility is key As Chile learns to harvest its formidable solar and wind power resources, increasing system flexibility will be vital. It’s this ‘middle market’ that’s ripe for UK expertise, notes Carlos Barría at Inodú
n 2017, fewer than 15 countries worldwide reached solar and wind energy production levels of greater than 10%. Of these, Chile is the only Latin American country and during October 2017, solar and wind energy exceeded 13% of its total energy produced.
European advantage The other countries are all in Europe, and most of them are interconnected with other nations. These countries take advantage of their capacity to exchange energy with their neighbours in order to integrate more renewable energy. For example, Denmark, which, as of 2016, generated more than 40% of its energy from wind and solar, can export its excess energy to Germany, Norway and Sweden. Additionally, Denmark has direct access to what is often referred to as Europe’s hydroelectric battery, Norway, to help Denmark balance its load when the wind does not blow as expected.
Chile’s energy transformation In contrast to its European counterparts, Chile is only connected to Argentina by a
54 energyfocus | www.the-eic.com
345kV transmission line between the Salta and Andes busbars. Chile is a long country with abundant renewable energy potential across its long transmission system, with electricity demand concentrated in only a few locations. Besides being the first country in the world to establish a power market back in 1982, the peculiarities of Chile’s electric system and its rapid integration of renewables are creating new opportunities and challenges as it looks to continue to integrate large quantities of renewable energy in the future.
Flexible opportunities The introduction of large quantities of renewable energy will create opportunities for resources that can provide flexibility in the Chilean power market. With the introduction of higher quantities of variable sources of energy, such as solar and wind, the shape of the net load duration curve (that is, load minus variable generation, which must be generated by other generation units) has changed and will continue to evolve. Integrating renewables reduces base generation capacity in the long-term and