GIZ in Chile – is the country leading the way in the energy transition?

Opportunity for interviews on GIZ’s work in Chile

Time for action is now – this is the strapline adopted by the UN Climate Change Conference COP25, to be held in Chile from 2 to 13 December 2019. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH will be there too, because GIZ is assisting the German Government in performing its pioneering role in mitigating climate change, including in Chile. 

Working on behalf of the German Environment Ministry, GIZ has been supporting the country in the Andes with its switch to renewable forms of energy and energy-efficient technologies. Renewable energy harbours potential equivalent to some 1,900 gigawatts of power according to joint calculations by GIZ and the Chilean Ministry of Energy. This is roughly ten times the total installed capacity of the German electricity sector. There are many sources of renewable energy in Chile: the sun, wind, water and geothermal power. 

GIZ’s support enabled photovoltaic systems to increase their output from less than 7 megawatts in 2014 to over 2,400 megawatts in 2018, and wind farms to grow theirs from 335 megawatts to more than 1,700 megawatts in the same period. This generated enough electricity to cover the needs of over two million people last year. What is more, Chilean solar power is commercially viable even without subsidies. Electricity from photovoltaic systems can now be produced for less than three US cents per kilowatt hour, a world record. In Germany, the price is somewhere between five and seven US cents at present.

In order to assist Chile in phasing out coal power, GIZ is also a member of the commission set up to oversee this transition – which is the world’s first of its kind. At the moment, Chile still covers around 40 per cent of its electricity needs using coal, which is the same percentage as Germany. Over the next few years, however, this is set to fall as the amount of energy generated from renewable sources rises further. Chile already obtains nearly half of its electricity from renewables, with 70 per cent the target by 2050. 

There is a lot going on in Chile as far as the energy transition is concerned: South America’s first and biggest solar power plant is currently being built in the Atacama Desert, featuring 10,600 mirrors that will focus sunlight onto a tower 240 metres tall. SMEs across the country are also making use of photovoltaic systems and energy-efficient combined heat and power generation. 

Which partners is GIZ advising on accelerating the energy transition in Chile? What technologies are being preferred – and why? Are renewables worthwhile for small companies too? Are any burning issues for the future playing a role, such as using renewable energy to generate hydrogen, innovative storage technologies or the desalination of seawater? How is GIZ contributing in phasing out coal power?

Rainer Schröer, Head of the Energy Programme in Chile, will be happy to answer these and further questions. We will be arranging telephone interviews from 23 to 27 September. If you are interested in filming, setting up a local interview or holding a conversation at another time, we look forward to hearing from you.