Energy transmission: The key to decarbonizing Chile

Energy transmission: The key to decarbonizing Chile

Experts agree that repowering existing infrastructure and accelerating the development of new projects are the main challenges for the energy sector, with a view to achieving the goal of decarbonizing the country by 2040.

Advancing towards a sustainable energy grid to take advantage of Chile’s renewable potential is the great challenge facing our country today. However, to achieve these objectives, it is not enough to promote the installation of renewable generators; it is equally important that there is transmission infrastructure capable of carrying that energy from the north of the country to the major consumption centers.

The general manager of ISA Interchile, Gabriel Melguizo, explains that “renewable generation has experienced unprecedented growth in Chile, while the transmission system has remained on the sidelines of that growth. If we want to build a sustainable energy future, it is essential that transmission advances steadily to enable decarbonization.”

In May 2020, one year passed since the start-up of the Cardones-Polpaico Transmission Line, operated by ISA Interchile, which, in addition to allowing the complete interconnection of the National Electric System at 500kV, provided greater flexibility for the entry of renewable energy. Today, the 1,700 MVA line operates at full capacity, demonstrating the need for new projects and innovative solutions to repower existing infrastructure, in order to gradually close the gap between energy generation supply and the transmission capacity that the country has.

In this regard, the Executive Director of the World Energy Council (WEC), Trinidad Castro, states that “transmission infrastructure must be adaptable, reliable, and accessible. We have to make better use of the infrastructure we have, making it more efficient and using existing energy assets, identifying opportunities, and reusing infrastructure.”

From the perspective of renewable generators, the Executive Director of ACERA A.G., Carlos Finat, emphasizes that “Chile must take advantage of the possibilities for expanding the transmission system, such as repowering the Cardones-Polpaico line, for example, and activating the strip studies that lead to the construction of new projects.”

On this last point, the industry agrees that the development of each project must be connected to the particular needs of each territory and its communities.