Chile and the Energy Transition

08.07.19 ViewsLatin America InnovationMember CommitteesImpact Communities

At WEC Chile, we believe that Chile’s experience with renewable energies is an opportunity for us to contribute talent and perspective to meet the global challenges of the energy transition.

AUTHOR: Javiera Aldunate, Executive Director, World Energy Council, Chile

Today, Chile’s carbon emissions are represented by the “rest of the world” label in expert graphs. This label bundles the medium and small countries of the world and accounts for 21% of global emissions. On the other hand, only four economies account for 54% of the planet’s carbon emissions: China, the United States, India and Russia.
 
This data suggests that Chile could exert only a relatively small impact in the construction of a cleaner energy matrix. Nevertheless, there are several reasons to think that Chile can play an important role in the global discussion: today we are close to meeting the annual legal target of having an energy matrix with 20% renewable energies. This has caused several foreign publication to recognize that Chile as an inspiring case.
 
This is one of the reasons why Chile will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference this December, despite being a small country. Chile’s enormous wealth in new energy resources, including solar and wind, represents a tremendous advantage, as well as a challenge; we have to invest to break the status quo and establish collaborative alliances that include communities.
 
What’s more, we have the opportunity to become an innovation laboratory to inspire and motivate the rest of the world. Given the size of our economy and the possibilities offered by our natural resources, we should make it our prime objective to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. We should strive to create new technologies and encourage young men and women to be part of this project
Chile’s Member Committee has become a platform for dialogue between high-level leaders from the public, private and academic spheres. It is an open working forum where there is an openness to new ideas, enabling leaders to highlight their countries’ most important energy issues.
 
WEC Chile brings together different points of view, delivering relevant, objective and transparent content. To that end, we have three dedicated content development committees working to highlight areas where Chile can make a real contribution: Energy efficiency, storage and regional integration.
 
In relation to energy efficiency in our country, we put a spotlight on achievements in projects related to distributed generation, district heating, electromobility and the issuance of green bonds (announced by the government). In addition, we endeavor to generate strategic alliance to promote this progress.
 
Although storage technology has been well developed in the northern cone, the southern cone has seen more gradual development. Nevertheless, Chile has pioneered energy storage with projects in both regions, revealing the importance of promoting this technology in times of abundance and to optimize it in times of scarcity.
 
We have made notable advances in regional integration with Peru, Argentina and other neighboring countries. These agreements help make the system more flexible, ensuring a sufficient power supply to meet demand. Chile also stands out for its leadership in clean energy. With 93% of its projects under construction renewable, Chile is in a position to act as a hub in other regional interconnecting projects.  The challenge lies in sustaining the confidence, regulation and policy promoting this initiative.
 
It is essential that in order to face these new challenges, we form diverse teams and bridge the gulf between different disciplines, ages, ethnicities and genders. Today, women’s participation in the energy sector is one of the lowest in Chile’s economy, with only 23% of women versus 77% of men taking part. In management positions. The difference is even more pronounced, with 503 women professionals for 2,535 men, according to the Energy + Women Initiative.
 
The Women in Energy initiative promoted by WEC Chile in partnership with Deloitte demonstrates the value of forming teams with complementary perspectives and talent. Many challenges remain, and we will need as much human capital as possible to face them.

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