Energy in Chile

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Chile: Electricity sector
Flag of Chile.svg
Electricity coverage (2003) 97% (total), 90% (rural); (LAC total average in 2007: 92%)
11.5 h interruption per subscriber
Installed capacity (2012) 18.28 GW [1]
Share of fossil energy ~60%
Share of renewable energy ~40%
GHG emissions from electricity generation (2003) 13.82 Mt CO2
Average electricity use (2007) 3,326 kWh per capita [2]
Distribution losses (2005) 6.52%; (LAC average in 2005: 13.6%)
Average residential tariff
(US$/kW·h, 2004)
0.109; (LAC average in 2005: 0.115)
Average industrial tariff
(US$/kW·h, 2006)
0.0805 (LAC average in 2005: 0.107)
Share of private sector in generation 100%
Share of private sector in transmission 100%
Competitive supply to large users No
Competitive supply to residential users No (if below 2MW)
Responsibility for transmission Transelec
Responsibility for regulation Fuel and Electricity Superintendence (SEC)
Responsibility for policy-setting National Energy Commission (CNE)
Responsibility for the environment CONAMA
Electricity Sector Law Yes (1982, modified in 2004 and 2005)
Renewable Energy Law Yes
CDM transactions related to the electricity sector 8 registered CDM projects; 2 Mt CO2e annual emissions reductions

Electricity sector[edit]

The electricity sector in Chile relies mainly on hydro-electric power generation (33% of installed capacity as of May, 2012),[1] oil (13%), gas (30%) and coal (20%).[1] Wind has a small but growing presence with 198 MW.[1] Faced with natural gas shortages that have the potential to jeopardize electricity supply, Chile is currently building its first LNG terminal to secure a supply for its existing and upcoming gas-fired thermal plants. In addition, it has engaged in the construction of several new hydropower and coal-fired thermal plants.

Chile’s successful electricity sector reform, which served as a model for other countries, was carried out in the first half of the 1980s. Vertical and horizontal unbundling of generation, transmission and distribution and large scale privatization led to soaring private investment. However, in recent years, there has been a substantial modification of the 1982 Electricity Act, to bring it line with developments of the last 20 years in the sector. This was the result of a pressing need to change.

The main companies involved, in terms of installed capacity, are the following:[1]

A number of other companies account for the remaining 14% (2418 MW)[1]

Renewable energy and energy efficiency[edit]

USDOE announced on June 23, 2009 that U.S. Energy Secretary Chu has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Minister Marcelo Tokman of the Chilean National Energy Commission to further collaboration between the two nations. The memorandum establishes an institutional framework between Chile and the United States, allowing DOE to provide its technical expertise in support of a new Renewable Energy Center in Chile. The new center will work to identify developments and best practices in renewable energy technologies from around the world, disseminating its findings within Chile and throughout the region.

The two countries will also collaborate on other high-priority energy issues, including energy efficiency technologies and the establishment of two pilot solar power projects in northern Chile.


Since the introduction of the so-called "short law II", investments in generation have risen greatly. Currently, there are generation projects amounting to over 26,000 MW, in different stages of development.[3] In 2013, Total S.A. announced the world's largest unsubsidised solar farm would be installed with assistance from SunPower Corp into Chile's Atacama desert.[4]


The main legal framework for the electricity sector in Chile is the "General Law of Electric Services (DFL-4)", a rather liberal framework which enables private investment in generation, transmission and distribution. Generation has been structured as a competitive market, whilst transmission and distribution are regulated. The Chilean model for the electricity market was very innovative in its time and has served as a model for several Latin American countries. It has allowed the Chilean company, Endesa, to expand successfully in the region. See the complete "legal framework for the electricity sector in Chile".


  1. ^ a b c d e f Installed Capacity in Chile Central Energía: Up-to-date information of the power capacity installed in Chile. Retrieved 15-05-2012
  2. ^ Ranking de países por consumo per cápita de electricidad Central Energía. Retrieved 19-04-2010
  3. ^ Proyectos Eléctricos de Chile. Up to date list of electric generation projects. Central Energía. Retrieved: 19-04-2010
  4. ^

External links[edit]