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12 Feb 2013 09:02:44

CSP Today launches its Chile guide

The CSP Today Guide: Chile can be downloaded free of charge from the website and it contains key information for solar developers about the Chilean market.

There has been much talk and interest over the past months about the Chilean CSP market. CSP Today is currently organizing for the first time an event in Latin America that will take place in July in Antofagasta, Chile. As part of the research efforts, CSP Today has compiled a free-to-download guide with the must-have information on how to develop and build CSP projects in Chile. The guide includes detailed information about the current status of the energy market in Chile, future growth of energy demand and solar resources.

Chile is a market of interest mainly because the price of energy is one of the highest in the world and flexibility of production and dispatchability is a highly valued asset (when compared with other renewable sources). However, as a free-market, Chile is shy of government energy intervention; therefore CSP must compete with coal and gas generation from the offset. This is both a great challenge and test to the industry and a great opportunity to become competitive worldwide.

The CSP Today Guide: Chile also includes technical profiles of all the CSP plants currently in development in Chile totaling 770MW: El Tesoro (El Tesoro Mining Company with Abengoa, operational since Dec 2012), Pedro de Valdivia (Grupo Ibereólica, about to begin construction), Mejillones (GDF Suez & Solar Power Group) and María Elena (also of Grupo Ibereólica) as per the information in the CSP Today Global Markets Tracker.

The country's solar resouces or DNI, one of Chile's best drivers for CSP industry development, is one of the key points for analysis in the guide. Although there is a plethora of satellite data to choose from, data sourced from on-the-ground meteorological stations is harder to come by. An interview with Rodrigo Escobar rom the Pontific University of Chile provides with very valuable on-the-ground information, citing upwards of 3500KW/h in high altitudes areas and clear skies.

The guide also includes exclusive interviews with the main local and international experts for CSP development in Chile. The interviews carry sound advice from weathered professionals. Carlos Final, the executive director of the Chilean Association for Renewable Energy, has years of experience in the electricity markets and also working for mining companies and advises companies to "study carefully the market and have a local presence" to be successful in Chile.

Another one of the interviewees in the CSP Today Guide: Chile is Diego Lizana Rojas, the director of energy efficiency from Doña Inés de Collahuasi mining company. Lizana believes that CSP's advantages are "storing and their suitability for heat generation for industrial processes".

With 760MW currently in development, Grupo Ibereólica from Spain is the biggest international developer present in Chile. An interview with Ibereólica's general director, José Manuel Ramos, is also included in the guide. Ramos believes that despite the free-market characteristics of the Chilean market, CSP will be competitive since "the last 5 years of CSP development has halved some of the key component's cost".

Belén Gallego, the founder and director of CSP Today, is leading the organization of the LATAM event and also of the CSP Today Guide: Chile. Gallego agrees that Chile presents a unique opportunity for CSP to learn to compete "in a market where dispatchability is valued and most of the energy is currently imported at great cost and vulnerability, whilst the best solar resources in the world are there to be harnessed".

The guide also touches on the announced tendering process by the government for a CSP plant, but doesn´t go in great detail into the subject. "Much has been said about the tender of a CSP plant by the Chilean government with some grant money and soft loans from the Inter American Development Bank, however nothing has been officially announced as of yet. Rumor has it may be announced at the beginning or March. We will be facilitating all information and details to CSP Today members as soon as it's official" Gallego explains.

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