Chile to Ease Electricity Shortages by Tapping Renewables

Chile will ease power shortages in the center of the country by building a 3,000-kilometer (1,865-mile) transmission line to link the grid with renewable plants in the north by 2017.

Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco said he will sign a decree Thursday approving interconnections that include the $1 billion transmission line.

That will help unleash production from 44 power plants that were under construction at the end of March including solar and wind farms, almost double the number being built a year ago. A lack of development caused power prices to rise 30 percent over the past five years.

“We will always want more but this is a good start,” Pacheco said in an interview Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York. “By late 2025, we will have 20 percent renewables, of that I am very confident.”

That would make Chile the largest producer of “non-conventional’ renewable energy in Latin America, a definition that excludes large hydroelectric dams.

The country will connect 741 megawatts of solar power to the grid this year and continue to boost installations in 2016 before stabilizing in 2017, said Lilian Alves, an analyst based in Sao Paulo for Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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