Exploring South America’s Renewable Energy Potential

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Eolic Park in Osorio, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
>The Eolic Park in Osorio, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil demonstrates the growing value of renewable energy across South America.
(cc) Eduardo Fonseca

South America holds enormous potential for renewable energy. Local government and industry is moving quickly to to tap those resources. Consider just two examples.

Advancing Solar Power In Brazil

This April, the board of the National Agency of Electrical Energy (ANEEL) in Brazil approved two pieces of legislation signifying the most important steps to date in the grid connected solar industry in that country.

New regulations for net metering will give businesses and individuals the power to reduce the high electricity bills faced across Brazil. The legislation governs micro (up to 100kW) and macro (100kW to 1MW) solar photovoltaic power generation and will enable customers to gain credits on their electricity bill at both the site of power generation and remote sites by feeding excess power generation from PV systems into the distribution grid.

The second piece of legislation concerns solar plants up to 30MW in size. Under the new laws utilities will be eligible for an 80% discount on the taxes paid for distributing and transmitting power generated from large solar parks.

Solar market researcher NPD Solarbuzz projects a year-on-year growth rate of over 350% in the region for 2012, with potential for triple-figure growth until 2014 as a result of these policy changes.

On October 16th and 17th, ANEEL, utilities, investors, and the solar industry will meet in Sao Paulo at Solar Brasil to assess the opportunities following initial feedback from the new legislation and first solar projects.

Solar Brasil will cover …

  • ANEEL evaluation of the new legislation success and adaptions required
  • Feedback from utilities on pilot projects and how the legislation is working for them
  • Case studies of solar stadia, solar airports, and other solar projects
  • Regional state incentives for solar power
  • The opportunity for solar power to compete in future power auctions
  • Module production: feedback from Tecnometal and opportunities for other manufacturers
  • Solar architecture
  • Finance mechanisms developed for solar and investors putting the money forward
  • Technicalities of developing solar parks in Brazil
  • Business attitudes and appetites for solar installations

Skyrocketing Energy Demand In Chili

Chili’s gross domestic product is forecast to grow by 5.1% annually until 2015, with a commensurate demand for energy, possibly doubling over the next ten years. The mining industry alone is expected to demand an additional 5% annually, and already consumes more than 80% of the country’s energy supply in the north. Blackouts are common and citizen engagement with climate change mitigation is high.

These drivers have encouraged wide public support for Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE) and the government has recognized the urgency of taking advantage of Chile’s outstanding natural resources. The government is therefore seeking up to 8GW of NCRE installations before 2020, a 47% increase over existing supply.

Chile’s long coastal border, the Atacama Desert, and extensive mountainous terrain provide the country with clear advantages for renewable energy development. In the Atacama Desert, for example, solar radiation levels are among the highest worldwide and weather conditions are among the driest, offering an estimated 4,000 km2 available for solar installations. Chile’s position on the Pacific’s volcanically active Ring of Fire provides the country with an estimated 16,000 MW of geothermal production potential over the next 50 years. And Chile’s extensive coastline offers excellent conditions for offshore wind power.

High energy prices, increasing demand, rejection of conventional energy, and the NCRE law which requires generators to produce 10% of their power from non-conventional renewable energy sources by 2024 is moving the international renewable energy community to explore the opportunities Chile offers. The Chilean International Renewable Energy Congress will welcome more than 300 of the most senior experts in wind, solar, geothermal, and finance to discussions in Santiago on September 4th and 5th, 2012.

For more information about the Chilean International Renewable Energy Congress and Solar Brasil, visit Green Power Conferences. See Energy Insight’s Conferences page for these and other renewable energy expos, conferences, and symposiums.

Read Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes from Amazon.

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