Market Intelligence
Renewable Energy Chile

Chile Energy Storage

Chile’s goal to achieve 80% renewable grid by 2030 and a 100% zero emissions grid by 2050, will require an estimated 2,000 MW of energy storage every 10 years.

Chile will need new renewable energy storage systems to replace its current backup capacity of coal-fired plants and natural gas-powered combined cycle turbines and improve the reliability of the country’s electric grid as it pursues new renewable energy generation. Chile has the potential to run exclusively on renewable generation, with an estimated energy mix of 46% solar, 31% wind, 12% hydroelectric, and 8% flexible natural gas power plants, as well as 23% of battery storage capacity. The remaining 2% is split between biomass, geothermal, and other less common energy sources. In addition, Chile will need an estimated 9.5GW of new flexible capacity over the next decade to fully replace coal and to achieve a significant drop in emissions necessary to meet the government’s climate goals.

Currently, 36 of the 129 large-scale projects Latin America projects with an energy storage component under development are in Chile, including 32 out of 71 of the region’s early works projects. The storage technologies either in use or being considered include: 

•    Lithium-ion battery
•    Compressed air 
•    Cryogenic/liquid air
•    Pumped hydropower 
•    Molten salt systems 

While many projects are under development, lithium - ion battery storage is still limited. According to data from Acera, the Chilean Renewable Energy Association, there are only 64MW of battery storage capacity currently active, representing 0.2% of national capacity. AES Andes, a subsidiary of U.S. company AES Corp. operates all 64MW at their Angamos and Los Andes substations. In addition, AES Andes announced plans to invest $400 million to double its storage capacity by 2023. 

Despite the current low level of installed energy capacity and high cost per MW, the opportunities for battery storage are promising. The Chilean Ministry of Energy projects that batter costs to decrease by 20 percent. Three greater than 100 MW renewable energy projects are under development and will have a lithium-on battery storage component. As of November 2021, the Coordinador Eléctrico Nacional (CEN), Chile’s electric grid coordinator, reports that 50 renewable energy projects totaling 2,696 MW are currently classified as in the process of entering operations or being put into service. Of these projects, 61% are solar, 33.4% are wind, 4% are thermal, and 1.7% hydroelectric.

For more information, contact CS Chile Commercial Specialist Marcello Orellana, marcello.orellana@trade.gov.

05/03/2022