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Energies 2014, 7(8), 5444-5459; doi:10.3390/en7085444
Article

Geothermal Potential Evaluation for Northern Chile and Suggestions for New Energy Plans

1,2
Received: 31 March 2014; in revised form: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 13 August 2014 / Published: 22 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geothermal Energy: Delivering on the Global Potential)
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Abstract: Chile is a country rich in natural resources, and it is the world’s largest producer and exporter of copper. Mining is the main industry and is an essential part of the Chilean economy, but the country has limited indigenous fossil fuels—over 90% of the country’s fossil fuels must be imported. The electricity market in Chile comprises two main independent systems: the Northern Interconnected Power Grid (SING) and the Central Interconnected Power Grid (SIC). Currently, the primary Chilean energy source is imported fossil fuels, whereas hydropower represents the main indigenous source. Other renewables such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermics are as yet poorly developed. Specifically, geothermal energy has not been exploited in Chile, but among all renewables it has the greatest potential. The transition from thermal power plants to renewable energy power plants is an important target for the Chilean Government in order to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels. In this framework, the proposed study presents an evaluation of the geothermal potential for northern Chile in terms of power generation. The El Tatio, Surire, Puchuldiza, Orriputunco-Olca and Apacheta geothermal fields are considered for the analysis. The estimated electrical power is approximately 1300 MWe, and the energy supply is 10,200 GWh/year. This means that more than 30% of the SING energy could be provided from geothermal energy, reducing the dependence on imported fossil fuels, saving 8 Mton/year of CO2 and supplying the mining industry, which is Chile’s primary energy user.
Keywords: renewable energy; geothermics; strategic energy planning; sustainable development; Chile renewable energy; geothermics; strategic energy planning; sustainable development; Chile
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Procesi, M. Geothermal Potential Evaluation for Northern Chile and Suggestions for New Energy Plans. Energies 2014, 7, 5444-5459.

AMA Style

Procesi M. Geothermal Potential Evaluation for Northern Chile and Suggestions for New Energy Plans. Energies. 2014; 7(8):5444-5459.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Procesi, Monia. 2014. "Geothermal Potential Evaluation for Northern Chile and Suggestions for New Energy Plans." Energies 7, no. 8: 5444-5459.


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