Chile's Congress approves renewable energy law

Mar 06, 2008 01:00 AM

Chile's Congress voted to require electric utilities to invest in and supply nonconventional energy sources (NCES) as part of the government's drive to diversify current tight energy supplies. The vote in favour of the project, which mandates that NCES account for at least 10 % of the energy supplied by Chile's electric utilities by 2024, was unanimous.
"To ensure that these energy projects are effectively implemented, the obligation will be 5 % in 2010 to 2014. After that, the percentage will increase 0.5 percentage points per year until it totals 10 % in 2024," the energy ministry said.

Energy Minister Marcelo Tokman said approval of the law, "was the only way to confront future energy risks and challenges." The next step is for the project to be signed into law by the president.
Nonconventional energy sources include wind, solar, geothermal, hydraulic and other forms of energy that have low environmental impact and are still not widely used in the local market.

Chile, which importsnearly all of the fuel it consumes, has been grappling with a serious energy shortage amid cuts in natural gas from sole supplier Argentina and lower hydroelectric reservoir levels caused by scant rainfall.
Short energy supplies caused electricity prices on the spot market to more than quadruple in 2007, and are cramping Chile's economic growth potential.

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