In a much-needed boost for the solar power project developers in Chile, the government has approved a new power transmission law would see substantial boost supplying solar power to the major demand centres.
According to the Electricity Transmission Act passed by the Chilean Congress, a new interconnected transmission network shall be established alongside a new independent operator. The new law is expected to help in better distribution of electricity generated from renewable energy projects that currently remain concentrated in the Atacama desert.
The Atacama desert has seen sharp jump in implementation of solar power projects over the last few years as it receives significantly high amounts of solar radiation and several mining companies run their operations in the region.
However, due to the falling demand of minerals, especially copper, the mining operation in norther Chile have been badly hit. The region is home to several copper mines which were supposed to the major buyers of the solar power. Global copper oversupply and low prices mean low production at mines and low power consumption.
With no local consumption and absence of adequate transmission capacity to send the power to population centres, project developers are being forced to supply their power for free.
Chile is not the only developing country struggling to absorb the massive amounts of renewable energy capacity coming up rapidly. South Africa, China and India are facing similar issues. While some are investing in the expansion of existing transmission networks, some others are looking to set up an entire transmission network dedicated to source electricity from renewable energy projects.