Grid Integration of Renewable Energies in Latin America

Group picture

Participants of the Latin American conference on renewable energies "Redes Renovabels". Photo: Hugo Muñoz/GIZ Chile

Approximately 100 experts from 12 Latin American countries met in October at a conference in Santiago de Chile entitled 'Redes Renovables' on integrating renewable energies in the power grid. Representatives from the energy industry, grid operators and experts from energy ministries and the International Energy Agency (IEA) spoke about future scenarios for feeding renewable energies into the power grid and the concrete technical implementation of grid integration in Latin America.

At the conference, Chile also presented the most recent results on its path towards implementing the national Energy Agenda 2050. According to the Chilean Ministry of Energy, it is possible to generate at least 30% of its annual energy through variable renewable energies like wind and solar. This was determined through an analysis of the operational and economic impacts of integrating renewable energies, which already account for 42% of overall electricity production in this Andean country. This proportion is to increase to 60% by 2035 and to 70% by 2050.

Through these policies Chile is taking a leading role in Latin America. The energy conference also aimed to foster exchange between experts from Chile and representatives of other Latin American countries, as the local conditions for the grid integration of variable renewable energies differ greatly in the region. In addition, international energy experts also presented practical experiences from countries including Germany, Ireland and the USA.

The German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) is supporting Chile's efforts with a range of projects as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and a project supported by BMUB together with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Under the auspices of the German Climate and Technology Initiative (DKTI), the project is promoting the dissemination of solar energy in Chile and is being jointly implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and KfW Development Bank. A key element is the construction of the first concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in South America. The solar power plant complex Atacama 1 consists of a CSP with an electrical output of 110 MW, which is coupled with a 100 MW photovoltaic plant. Starting in 2017, this complex will feed a total of 210 MW into the Chilean grid.