PV-TECH - The Chilean Congress has passed a major law on electricity transmission, which will help the development of both renewable and non-renewable energy projects.

Under the policy, which was entered into the Congress in October 2015, a new national interconnected power system will be established alongside a new independent operator.

Chile has seen a boom in renewable energy of late, being the first Latin American country to surpass 1GW solar PV capacity earlier this year. However some solar projects in north central Chile have already experienced significant levels of curtailment since October 2015, due to a weak power system and delays in attempts to upgrade and expand the transmission system, fuelled by lengthy tendering, permitting and construction processes.

Carlos Finat, executive director of the Chilean Renewable Energy Association (ACERA) said the modernisation of the Electricity Transmission Act was a long time coming. However, a new expansion of the system will help to distribute energy and allow clean energy being generated mostly in the north of the country to reach different regions of Chile. Solar projects tend to be concentrated in the North of the country near the Atacama Desert, which has world beating levels of irradiation, but infrastructure to supply the electricity to power-hungry cities in the centre has been lacking.

Before the new law was passed, Finat had said that investments in transmission were being delayed due to specific regulations for expanding the system. However, the new law will allow for a more considered analysis of requirements of the power generation systems so that infrastructure can be built in advance of rising demand.

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