In the northern regions of Chile, miners have established vast wind farms capable of providing up to 20% of the necessary energy to operate the massive copper mines.
"On August 26th Chile launched its biggest wind farm to date on a coastal hilltop 400 kilometres north of Santiago. Fifty wind turbines with an installed capacity of 115 megawatts will provide energy to Los Pelambres, a nearby mine...Further north, in the Atacama Desert, another US company, SunEdison, is building a solar plant for Antofagasta. Once operational early next year, it will provide Los Pelambres with a further 12% of its requirements." (The Economist).
In 2008, the National Energy Commission (CNE) was created to manage the nation’s electrical grid. They are responsible in the most part for regulating electricity imports and exports and setting technology standards that model how the resources should be utilized:
“…called for the establishment of Independent Operation Centers (IOCs) to organize and operate the country’s electricity system with increased autonomy. The National Energy Strategy calls for the new institutions to provide transparent information on the electricity market as well as additional supervision of energy practices” (export.gov).
Although The National Energy Strategy sets guidelines for the energy companies to follow, the energy sector is still entirely privatized. What does this mean for the market of Chile? With all of these booming private businesses, there will be a wide array of investment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Between 1986 and 2010, the Chilean economy grew at a rate of 5.4% and in 2011 the GDP rose to $299.6 billion (export.gov).
More than likely, Chile will continue to attract private investors and investment firms over the next few years as their energy market continues to boom. Now might not be a bad time to buy in.
Chile's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Market: Opportunities for U.S. Exporters
Energy in Chile: Winds of Change