This year alone, 55 new photovoltaic plants will start operations in the country, being by far the most dynamic generation source in 2019. But this will not be the only milestone reached by this technology: it will also be the third with the largest participation in the sector. the electric market, surpassing the once unbeatable conventional energy: natural gas.
The National Electricity Co-ordinator (CEN) conducted a model for the year based on dry hydrology – the most likely scenario based on climate predictions – which concluded that next year the main source of electricity production will continue to be coal, with 40 , 4% of participation, followed by water plants, which will be in second place with a 30.2% participation. But the biggest change is that solar power, with 9.4% and 7,345 GWh, will be the third generation source in 2019. The phenomenon is historic, since for the first time a Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (ERNC) will locate in such position.
In 2018, the third place was obtained by natural gas with a participation of 14.8%, while the production of solar energy represented 7% of the total. For this year, it is projected that gas will fall to 8.6% and that solar energy will rise to 9.4%.
According to Energy Minister Susana Jiménez, this is good news because it is about clean energy, low cost and efficient.
"It is very positive to see how a source of energy from a resource of clean, safe and low operating cost, such as the sun, has been incorporated into our electrical matrix," he said, adding that operating costs and investment more and more "including the short development times -" they allow this technology to be competitive in our market. "
"This is very important because it allows us to attract investors who see in our country a competitive, undistorted market and open to the development of renewable energy projects," Jimenez said.
Meanwhile, the executive director of the Chilean Association of Renewable Energies (Acera) also valued the growth of solar energy in the country. "It is a clear sign that the future development of electricity generation in Chile will be entirely from renewable sources, both because of the cost advantages of the second and the need to reduce CO2 emissions and local pollutants." , he assured. But he also pointed out that "it is necessary to take into account that" in order to avoid increasing the polluting thermoelectric generation, it is not only necessary to increase the installed capacity of the renewable plants, but also that the transmission system must expand adequately, "he said. Finat
However, it should be taken into account that, in 2018, Argentina once again exported gas to our country, which, depending on prices, could make gas competitive for the generation of electricity. However, in the short term, there are no new plants that use this fuel.
The wind also grows. Without falling behind, wind power is also having a greater preponderance in the electrical system. In 2016, its share was 3.2%, that is 2,275 GWh of energy, in 2017 it jumped to 4.8%, which was 3,552 GWh and in 2018 it was of 4.9%, about 3,784 GWh. However, in the hypothetical scenario of the coordinator, in 2019 they will contribute with 6.3%, which translates into 4,938 GWh. The above is due to the fact that next year will be included 14 plants in operation, which will bring 813.8 MW of energy to the system. It is hoped that this NCRE will also continue to grow.