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Chile leads the way in green energy

Chile is set to serve as a playbook for other countries, as it leads green energy efforts.

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In response to growing climate and environmental concerns, the global clean energy industry is rapidly expanding. In 2022, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that electric car sales had reached a record high of 10 million. Meanwhile, the amount of renewable energy capacity added to energy systems globally grew by 50% in 2023, reaching almost 510 gigawatts (GW), with solar panels accounting for three-quarters of additions worldwide.

According to the IEA, this “demonstrates continued confidence in energy transitions even in an uncertain economic climate.” As the clean energy industry grows, new digital technologies can “help to integrate increasing shares of variable renewables and improve the reliability of grids,” while for the average person, they can improve energy efficiency while reducing emissions.

Chile leads the way

A key example of a nation where the digital technology and clean energy sectors are thriving is Chile. As tech continues to boom across Latin America (LatAm), due to factors such as a highly educated workforce, numerous successful start-ups, favourable government policies, and a pandemic-prompted pivot toward digital banking, Chile remains a forerunner in both the region’s digital technology and clean energy sectors.

With a population of 19 million people, Chile is known throughout Latin America for its excellent education system, high literacy levels - 98.77% in 2021 - and plentiful, popular universities. With the Chilean government actively encouraging foreign investment with initiatives such as Invest Chile, it’s no surprise that Chilean industry is thriving.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), over the last several years, Chile’s energy transition strategy has evolved as a result of political engagement in the area of clean energy, combined with new green technological innovations.

Let’s take a closer look at how and why the digital technology and clean energy industries in particular are growing in Chile.

Political support

The Chilean Ministry of Energy aims to ensure that 60% of electricity will come from renewable energy sources by 2030, as well as aiming to decarbonise the country's energy matrix by 2025. Achieving this goal will involve the closure of 28 coal plants and investing $30 billion in generating 15 gigawatts of renewable energy and building transmission and storage infrastructure.

Chile’s current administration, under President Gabriel Boric, intends to put the proceeds from Chile’s copper production and lithium towards the production of green hydrogen.

International partnerships

Chile has forged a beneficial partnership with Germany - Energy Partnership Chile-Germany' - through which the countries share information, training, and policy agreements.

The Chilean nation has also strengthened its international partnerships through hosting significant climate events such as the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid, and the Clean Energy Ministerial.

Innovative technologies

The only solar thermal tower in LatAm is in Chile's Atacama Desert and plays a big role in Chile’s green energy programme, which aims to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2040.

According to a report from Chile’s Centro de Energía, digital technologies play a large role in clean energy. Some of the key technologies contributing to Chile’s push towards renewable energy include:

  • Smart grids – these are electricity networks using digital technologies, sensors, and software to better match the supply and demand of electricity in real time while minimising costs and maintaining the stability and reliability of the grid.
  • Distributed Energy Resource (DER) management systems – these support distribution system operators (DSO) to control grids that are based on distributed energy resources (DER).
  • Data management – employing this type of technology allows organisations to leverage Chile’s renewable energy resources, and to chart demand and consumption patterns.

Chile’s renewable energy strategy is impressive and trailblazing. So much so, the WEF asserts that the country could “serve as a playbook” for other countries seeking to invest in renewable energy. Chile is home to abundant renewable energy opportunities and innovations, and presents a very interesting case study in how digital technologies can support clean energy strategies to achieve a better future.

If you’re looking to expand your business into Latin America, get in touch with our team today, to find out how our LatAm team can help!