NRDC Chile Facts: Chile's Clean Energy Future

Natural Resources Defense Council
Friday, May 6, 2011

Biomass, Biogas, Geothermal, Small Hydro, and Wind are Affordable Choices Now and Solar is Not Far Behind

The following is a report published by Natural Resources Defense Council as part of their Save Bio gems Campaign.

NRDC commissioned Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) to prepare an assessment, with Chilean data provided by Valgesta Energía (Valgesta), of the “levelised cost of energy” (LCOE) comparing a wide range of power generation technologies in Chile. The analysis demonstrates that “nonconventional renewable energy” (NCRE) technologies, which are often assumed to be uniformly more costly, actually provide affordable choices right now – particularly wind, geothermal, mini-hydro biomass and biogas.

Executive Summary

"Chile is in the middle of an important national debate about its energy future. Concerns about lack of a secure energy supply, volatile prices, and the environmental and health risks related to fossil fuels and nuclear energy are front and center for citizens, government, business, and industry. The overarching question is: what should be the focus of a new energy policy to increase energy security and independence and support future growth and development? To help answer this question, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) commissioned an assessment of the comparative costs of a wide range of generation technologies in the Chilean power sector. The main conclusion to draw from this research is that Chile’s traditional energy choices are not necessarily the most secure or most affordable options for the future. Chile can meet its demand in the coming decades through a variety of “non-conventional renewable energy” (NCRE) sources and energy efficiency technologies supplementing its existing generation base. But this will only be possible if Chile strengthens its renewable energy and energy efficiency policies to remove existing barriers and more effectively promote these sectors."