Chile’s Renewable Energy Transformation Leaves Much to Be Desired


A recent New York Times article praised Chile for its innovative renewable energy transformation, lauding the country for making its energy sources more sustainable while serving as a leader for the rest of Latin America. But the Times did not offer a comprehensive look at energy and the environment in the country.

Chile is one of ten global leaders in renewable energy, due to geography that provides a plethora of natural resources: the Atacama Desert is perfect for the procurement of solar power, the long coastline provides ample winds for wind farms, and active volcanoes make the country poised for geothermal energy collection. Yet, investments in these renewable sources are new, and face problems of transmission and excessive demand.

Furthermore, the Times article focused on energy for electricity, but ignored heating. While endowed with a natural advantage for renewable electricity sources, Chile has little to no natural gas reserves to speak of. The country is thus reliant  on Argentinian imports for heat energy, making utilities incredibly expensive and environmentally harmful.

Therefore, while Chile is well-positioned to develop both electric and geothermal alternatives, these avenues have not been sufficiently explored. Thus, Chile is not yet experiencing as much of an energy transformation as projected and must further develop these technologies.

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