A paradise for renewable energy

Chile is transforming itself from a coal and gas consumer into a producer of solar power and helping to mitigate climate change.

Chile’s economy is growing, and so too are the country’s energy needs – by around six percent a year. By switching to renewable energy and using energy-efficient technology, Chile’s government wants to make industry more competitive and reduce CO2 emissions by a third by 2030, compared to the figure for 2007.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting the Andean country in achieving these environmental and climate-mitigation targets. ‘Chile is a paradise for renewable energy’, says Rainer Schröer, who works for GIZ in Chile and heads an energy programme comprising several individual projects on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

Success has been achieved already: power generation from photovoltaic (PV) plants has risen from less than 7 megawatts to over 2,100 megawatts in five years. Wind farms are now generating five times as much power as they did in 2014. The proportion of renewable energy in the grid has risen from 5 to 17 per cent over a period of three years. This has allowed energy costs to be reduced and made the power supply more reliable.

Chile saved more than 20 million tonnes of CO2 between 2007 and 2016 thanks to the growth of renewables. Ultimately, however, it is not only Chile that benefits from this growth and from the innovative use of renewable energy: ‘When we avoid emissions, we protect the climate worldwide’, says Rainer Schröer.

Read about the role of skilled experts and public-private partnerships in achieving Chile's climate goals in our feature entitled ‘Bright prospects for clean energy’.