Renewables for Chile

Solar power to sustain population and economic growth

In Chile's Atacama Desert, in the north of the country, one of the world's leading renewable energy operators is developing two solar power projects that will provide much needed energy resources to sustain the growing population and mining industry.

Acciona Energia's proposed two solar photovoltaic plants will be located in isolated areas of the desert some 20 km apart. They will generate 28 MW each and will connect into the country's Central Interconnected System known as the SIC.

To ensure the plants meet Chile's rigorous sustainability development criteria, Acciona Energia engaged long-time partner, GHD, to prepare the necessary Environmental Impact Statements (EIS).

As part of the project, GHD performed baseline data collection on noise, carried out archaeological excavations, developed flora, fauna and landscape documentation, prepared estimations on waste generation and emissions, and carried out community consultation activities which culminated in the development of the EIS.

According to Daniel Barriga, GHD's Project Director, "Chile's capacity for solar energy is extensive, particularly in the Atacama desert which receives more solar irradiance per square metre than anywhere else in the world.

"Acciona Energia's projects to provide clean renewable energy in this area will enable residents and nearby mining companies to secure energy supplies and reduce their reliance on diesel fuel. Feasibility of the plants will depend on mitigating the risks to the environment, which have been addressed in the EIS."

The Chilean government has approved the EIS and construction plans are yet to be announced.

For more information, contact Daniel Barriga on +56 2 2433 5418 or email daniel.barriga@ghd.com