AES to double battery storage capacity in Chile

  • Market: Electricity
  • 05/11/21

US utility AES plans to more than double battery storage capacity in Chile by 2023, marking progress in the country's ambitious strategy to transition away from fossil fuels.

AES will add 188MW of storage to reach 363MW in two years, the company announced during the UN Cop 26 climate conference in Glasgow today. The company currently has 62MW of battery storage in operation across several sites in Chile, and has around 112MW under construction.

The new batteries together with renewable energy projects represent more than $400mn in investment, the company says.

Speaking alongside AES executive vice president and chief operating and infrastructure officer Bernerd Da Santos, Chile's energy minister Juan Carlos Jobet highlighted that the new project brings the country closer to reaching at least 2GW of storage by 2030, one of the goals of the outgoing administration's proposed long-term national energy policy.

"In the face of the growing need for flexibility in the electricity system, we need lithium-ion batteries, or liquid air batteries, and all types of energy storage technologies to integrate renewable sources and ensure that clean energy can be available at any time and for all homes in Chile," Jobet said.

Batteries are critical to fully incorporating solar and wind energy into the power grid because they help to compensate for intermittency, reducing the need for thermoelectric back-up.

Investment climate

With the world's driest desert in the north and fierce winds in the deep south, Chile touts the potential for more than 80 times its current installed capacity for solar and wind energy. The 26.6GW national power grid already features 16pc solar and 10pc wind capacity, and another 3.2GW of solar and 950MW of wind projects are currently under construction, according to the National Energy Commission (CNE).

Chile aims to leverage its giant potential surplus of renewables capacity to produce green hydrogen for domestic applications such as heavy transport and steel, and for export.

The country's aggressive climate plans are nonetheless predicated on stable investment conditions which will be largely shaped by the outcome of 21 November elections to succeed embattled center-right president Sebastian Piñera. The current frontrunners are far-right José Antonio Kast and far-left Gabriel Boric.


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