Chile sets sights on 100% renewables by 2040

CHILE: The Renewable Energy Association of Chile (Acera) has backed calls for sourcing 100% of its electricity by 2040, on the back of an "ambitious" new government.

Chilean president-elect Sebsatián Piñera (pic: Fotos TVN)

The country elected conservative businessman Sebsatián Piñera as president in December.

According to Acera, Pinera's renewable energy and climate change policies has many common points with that of the association.

Speaking at an Acera press conference, the association's president, José Ignacio Escobar – who is also general manager of Acciona Energia's Chile and Latin American unit – backed the new president.

"We are looking forward to the new government, which has very ambitious goals, which we hope to actively support to find the necessary mechanisms to meet the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040.

"We believe it is a fully attainable and achievable goal, but it is necessary to define the action plan to achieve the goal, a rational plan and consistent with decarbonisation."

According to Acera, the country's installed renewable capacity has grown from 952MW in 2012 to 4.9GW by the end of 2017 — with a further 1GW of mainly wind and solar power to be expected in 2018.

Data from Windpower Intelligence, the research and data arm of Windpower Monthly, shows Chile added around 272WM of wind in 2017, with total capacity now standing at around 1.7GW.

"[Last year] was very positive. The industry maintained growth at the same high rates it had in the last four or five years," said Acera executive director Carlos Finat.

In November, the country completed work to connect its two largest power grids, a move which should unlock huge potential for renewables in the north of the country.

Piñera previously served as Chile's president between 2010 and 2014. He takes office in March.