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Chile's mines move to renewable energy

13 Aug 2015

Chile is making significant steps towards meeting much of its energy demand with renewable resources. The Chilean government is encouraging alternatives to natural gas, coal and diesel imports, aiming for 20% of total energy capacity to come from renewables by 2025.

This shift is coming from the country’s existing mines which are now relying on solar and wind power. For example, the three industrial boilers at the state owned Codelco mine used to consume 67,000 barrels of diesel a year to produce copper sheets for export. Now the project is powered by 3,000 solar panels.

The cost of solar and wind power has declined over the years, making renewable energy an increasingly appealing option for the country’s mining companies. Last year alone, Chile added 928MW of renewable energy capacity to its power grid, following just 244MW added in 2013.

It is estimated that mines in Latin America will invest over $1 billion in renewable energy projects over the next decade, up from $37 million in 2013, with much of that development in Chile.