April 30, 2021 #News of Chile in the World

Renewables inspire Chile's dream of exporting green energy

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Blessed with the best solar power conditions on the planet, the country is deciding how to capitalise on its carbon-free capability.

Fernando González relishes the shade given by the 140 sq m mirror that bounces the sun's beams to a "receiver" on a 250m-high tower in the Atacama Desert. But he is more proud of what the technology is achieving in northern Chile. "We are making history here," he says.

The mirror dwarfs his 4×4 truck yet it is just one of 10,600 heliostats - to give them their technical name - that spread for 1.5km in all directions.

"This is the first [solar energy plant] of its kind in Latin America," explains González, gesturing at the pipes that take molten salt up to the receiver. The salt is already at 290C but when it meets the combined power of the heliostats, the temperature almost doubles to 565C. It is then pumped down to power a steam turbine to generate electricity.

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