Chilean Association of Power Generators

We are the trade association that represents the power generator companies operating in Chile. Our members are a large and diverse group of companies that together produce more than ninety percent of the country´s electricity. Our partners develop, build and operate power generation projects in all technologies present in Chile.

 
 
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Vision

A more electric Chile, with more efficient, renewable, reliable and sustainable energy.

 

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Mission

To inspire and lead the energy transition through the promotion of sound public policies and good practices for the best use and generation of electricity.

Contributions of Chilean Association of Power Generators

 1) Agreement on the phase out of coal


In January 2018 an agreement was settled between the Government of Chile and the member companies of the Chilean Association of Power Generators which operate coal fired power plants in Chile (AES Gener, Colbún, Enel and Engie). This agreement established that no new coal plants were going to be developed in Chile, and to establish a roundtable to discuss the phase out of the existing plants. In 2018 coal represented 38,6% of total power generation in Chile

Roundtable on the phasing out or conversion of coal fire plants

Within the framework of the agreement, in June 2018 the work of the Roundtable on the Phase Out and/or Conversion of Coal Plants coordinated by the Ministry of Energy began, whose objective was to analyze the effects of the withdrawal and/or conversion of coal-fired power generation units, on the safety and economic efficiency of the national electricity system, local economic activity and environmental aspects that may have an impact, in order to establish a timetable for the withdrawal and/or conversion of these units.

Some twenty actors were summoned, among them electric companies and the Chilean Association of Power Generators; the ministries of Energy and Environment, the National Energy Commission, the National Electrical Coordinador (ISO), in addition to environmental NGO´s, representatives of the Worker Unions and academics Enzo Sauma, director of the energy center of the Pontificial Catholic University of Chile and Alejandro Jadresic, former ministry of Energy and Dean of the School of Engineering of the Adolfo Ibañez University. The working table met between June 2018 and January 2019.

You can check more information of the working table on the Ministry of Energy page. 

 

 Public-Private Plan Zero Carbon Energy

In June 2019, the Chilean government and the country's four largest electric utilities (AES Gener, Colbún, Enel and Engie) reached a voluntary agreement that established a phase-out program for their coal units, which will end no later than 2040.

 

The withdrawal of the units' operations will be done through a schedule that establishes the cessation of the first 1,047 MW of the eight oldest plants by 2024. These units are in the communes of Iquique (1), Tocopilla (4), Puchuncaví (2) and Coronel (1), and together represent 19% of the total installed capacity of coal-fired plants. In June 2019, the disconnection of Units N°12 and N°13 located in Tocopilla, which have a total capacity of 170 MW, was completed. In December 2019, the 158 MW Tarapacá power plant in Iquique will also be disconnected.

 

The medium-term stage consists of the commitment to define dates in new working groups formed every five years, which allow for the establishment of specific retirement schedules, giving an account of the economic, social and environmental impacts of this decision. All of the above, with the common ambition between companies and the government for the withdrawal of operations from the total number of coal-fired plants by 2040.

 

Coal-based electricity generation generates higher levels of global pollutant emissions, representing 26% of Chile's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Chile's president, Sebastián Piñera, said it is going to be a very important contribution because it will allow us to go from emitting 30 million tons of CO2 equivalent to only four million tons by 2040. This plan was developed voluntarily between the public and private sectors and did not generate costs for the state, as has happened in other agreements worldwide. This milestone is an example for other countries that may be interested in learning about the Chilean model. One of the main challenges and opportunities for the country is to implement the replacement of energy that is produced from coal.

 

You can review more of the process and plan in the INODU, a consultancy, study “Review of Chile’s decarbonization efforts”.

 

2)   Relevant information for the energy industry
 

The Chilean Association of Power Generators offers relevant information in the form of publications, studies, bulletins and presentations. 

 

Bulletins

 

The Electric Market Bulletin on the Generation Sector is a monthly report with information on several market data and the operational results of the generation sector. You can review the bulletins in Spanish here.

 

Studies

 

[2019] Energy Sector Pathways to Carbon Neutrality: the study was commissioned to E2BIZ research with the objective of developing decarbonization routes of Chile's energy matrix by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement, aiming at carbon neutrality. This study has not yet been published and will soon be available on our website.

 

[2018]  Along term analysis for Chile´s National Electricity System considering variable and intermittent energy sources: the consortium formed by PSR of Brazil and Moray Energy of Chile was commissioned to determine the future scenarios of the Chilean electricity matrix to 2030 and the direct and indirect costs of the economic and safe operation associated with each of them.

[2018] Long-term analysis for Chile´s National Electricty system considering variable and intermittent energy sources:  the consortium formed by PSR of Brazil and Moray Energy of Chile was commissioned to determine the future scenarios of the Chilean electricity matrix to 2030 and the direct and indirect costs of the economic and safe operation associated with each of them.

 

Working Committees

 

Working Committees are constituted, according to the interests of the industry in specific areas. The objective is to permanently promote collaboration between the member companies in the context of the general objectives established by this Association.

 

3)   Highlight good practices of our associates
 

Our partners develop, build and operate energy projects in all the technologies present in our country.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) become a guide to address the social, economic and environmental impacts that companies, governments and other actors create, becoming an instrument to address these impacts and contribute to a more sustainable development.

The "Best Practices Contest for a More Sustainable Electric Future", which uses the SDGs, is held annually. Some outstanding initiatives are: 

2019] Balneario Machicura de Colbún, in the Maule Region, seeks to promote the locality as a tourist pole in order to improve the local quality of life by showing the attractions of the area and generating jobs around the tourist activity. This is a model seeks to insert a hydropower project in a territory in terms such that it is able to generate direct value for local communities. The spa is managed by the Municipality of Colbún and a participatory process was carried out during the development process.

2019] Water Management Program in the Maule de Enel basin, in collaboration with CITRA of the University of Talca and the Municipalities of San Clemente and San Rafael, has improved production conditions for farmers, users of the same hydroelectric basin, through an optimized use of water with the introduction of new irrigation technologies among which is a demonstration plot in the Liceo San Clemente Entre Rios where students are trained in the career of agricultural technician. The results showed significant water savings by improving agricultural production.

2019] Caleta Sierra de Pacific Hydro Mini Solar Park, in the Coquimbo Region, was born during the early participation process initiated by the company with the support of the Ministry of Energy, where the need for a continuous and reliable electrification system based on renewable energies was identified and prioritized. It is a self-sustainable park, which is operated and maintained by the community's neighbors.

 2018] Toconce lights up. The Atacameña indigenous community of Toconce did not have access to electricity or public lighting. Faced with this problem of access to energy, Enel provided electricity to local homes and public lighting. Additionally, the local post was electrified, contributing to the health and well-being of the community by increasing the number of days of medical attention, expanding the coverage of covered pathologies and the number of monthly attentions.

2018] Mirrors Program: Powerful Women. The energy sector is one of the most unequal in terms of gender equality. The Mirrors Program seeks to reverse this situation by involving women from the town of María Elena in the construction of the Cerro Dominador project. This was done through a hiring policy that sought to reconcile work with their capacity as heads of household and mothers.

2018] Santiago Solar: A good neighbor. The companies AME and EDF together with the community generated a forest nursery for the propagation of native trees, which are being used for the reforestation of 150 hectares of forest. This measure seeks to contribute to the restoration of the terrestrial ecosystem and thereby improve the environmental conditions and fauna of the place. Finally, photovoltaic panels were installed in homes in the community giving access to clean and affordable energy.

 

Generation in Chile


Electrical Market


The electrical market in Chile, from the energy supply side, is made up of three sectors whose activities make it possible to dispose of electrical energy in the different points of the market. The physical interconnection of the components of each of these sectors is called the electrical system:

 

  • Generation: sector whose function is the production of electrical energy through different technologies such as hydroelectric, thermoelectric, wind, solar, among others.

 

  • Transmission: sector whose function is the transmission, at high voltage levels, of the energy produced at all points of the electrical system.

 

  • Distribution: sector whose function is to distribute, at lower voltage levels than those of Transmission, energy from a certain point of the electrical system to the regulated consumers served by this sector.

 

These activities are developed entirely by private companies, which make the necessary investments within the specific regulations governing each of these sectors. Thus, the transmission and distribution sectors are developed within a scheme of regulated sectors, due to the monopoly characteristic of both sectors, while Generation does so under rules of free competition.

 

Renewable vocation


Every day we witness the consequences that the planet is suffering from global warming, therefore, it becomes a necessity to seek energy generation through clean energy.

 

Chile is a country with great natural diversity, with a privileged geography to install renewable energy plants, however, the cost of technology was high. In recent years, its costs have decreased considerably and technology has evolved so that companies have opted to invest in this type of energy.

 

In addition, there have been legal changes that improve the generation market and have established a preferential treatment for renewable energy.

 

Solar Energy


The Atacama Desert, located in northern Chile, has the highest solar radiation recorded in the world. The potential for generating electricity from solar energy in the center and north is extraordinary, making Chile a great generator and exporter of solar energy for the world (it could supply some 60 times Chile's consumption and around 20% of the world's consumption).

 

In just a few years, solar power generation in Chile has increased dramatically. The companies are betting on clean energy and within their strategic objectives and projects is the increase of solar plants since the energy coming from the sun is free, renewable and infinite and during the operation there are no atmospheric emissions.

 

The installed capacity of solar energy in Chile in 2013 was 0.06%, increasing to 9.8% in 2018. According to a study by Chilean Association of Power Generators, by 2030 solar power will reach 30% of total, becoming the country's first source of electrical energy. Media such as the Washington Post have called Chile 'the Saudi Arabia of solar energy'.

 

Our country must look for ways to diversify its electricity generation matrix due to the phasing out of coal plan being carried out that will close the coal-fired plants that generate around 40% of our country's electricity. In addition, the costs of investing in solar technology have decreased which favors the expansion of this type of technology which is a great opportunity for Chile.

 

Wind energy


Wind energy is renewable and inexhaustible. As of December 2018, Chile has an installed wind energy capacity of 1,705 MW, a share of 7% in the system. This is an important increase if we consider that in 2013 the installed capacity was only 293 MW, which represented 1.8% of the national power generator park.

 

Wind energy has as an advantage its sustainable condition: it is renewable, it does not emit greenhouse gases, it can share spaces destined for agriculture and, as they do not damage the soils, its installations are reversible. In the report "El Potencial Eólico, Solar e Hidroeléctrico de Arica a Chiloé" (The Wind, Solar and Hydroelectric Potential from Arica to Chiloé), from the Ministry of Energy, it is estimated that the total wind potential is close to 40,500 MW, in projects with an average plant factor of 0.34. This figure reflects the extensive space available for new wind initiatives in the country.

 

Hydropower


Historically, our country has had a high presence of zero-emission hydroelectric energy in its electrical matrix. Due to Chile's geographical conditions, the natural conditions for the development of this type of energy that is renewable and clean are presented. At present, around 30% of electricity comes from hydropower, being the number one renewable source of energy, but from run-of-river and dams, which allowed us to have a diverse electric generation matrix.

 

Although its participation has decreased in recent years, and new projects of greater magnitude are not seen for the moment, it is expected that this technology will play a key role in the flexibility needs of the electrical system in the face of solar and wind variability, enabling the system for a safe incorporation of renewable energies from variable sources through the complementary services that hydroelectric plants can provide.

 

Countries with high hydroelectric penetration are also countries with low emissions. Norway, where 98% of its electricity generation is hydropower, or New Zealand, where 70% comes from this source, has some of the lowest rates of emissions from its electricity systems.

 

Geothermal energy

 

Geothermal plants require high temperatures (150°C to 370°C) from hydrothermal resources (steam and water). Geothermal power plants, as they are not affected by climatic variations, produce constant energy with a capacity factor between 60% and 90%.

 

The potential for geothermal energy is very large, but only a fraction can be used depending on geological conditions. Chile as part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, contains a large geothermal potential estimated at 2,000 MW in the large north and 1,350 MW in the central area. During 2017 the first geothermal plant in South America was inaugurated with a total of 48 MW. The country has about 20% of the active continental volcanoes so it is a type of energy that can be further exploited.

 

Installed capacity


As of September 2019, the National Electric System (SEN) has an installed capacity of generation of 24,856 MW, corresponding to more than 99% of the national installed capacity (medium systems such as Aysén and Magallanes and isolated systems are less than 1%). Of the total installed capacity in the SEN, 47% corresponds to generation technology based on renewable resources (hydroelectric, solar PV, wind, biomass and geothermal). 53% corresponds to natural gas, coal or petroleum products thermoelectric plants.

 

Generation plants under construction


According to the Project Management Unit (PMU) of the Ministry of Energy, 3,072 MW (35 plants) were under construction at September 2019, of which 96.7% correspond to renewable energies, with the following breakdown of the total under construction: 26.6% of plants.

hydroelectric power plants larger than 20 MW; 37.9% of wind power plants; 31.8% to solar power plants and 0.5% to mini hydro plants.