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Chile Hopes to Boost Geothermal Sector with New Zealand Partnership

Chile is one of the countries with the greatest potential for geothermal energy in the world. The South American country stretches for 4,270 kilometres along the Andes Mountains, the longest chain of volcanoes in the world according to the Andean Geothermal Centre of Excellence at the University of Chile.

Gonzalo Salgado, from the Chilean Geothermal Energy Association, says that Chile has “significant potential in geological terms” due to the fact that ten percent of the world’s volcanoes are found within its borders.

Exploration into the geothermal potential in Chile actually began in 1907, but due to a lack of investment incentives the sector never advanced beyond the exploration phase; all that is now set to change after signing a new strategic partnership with New Zealand.

Related article: France In Tight Spot over Geothermal ‘Fracking’

70% of Chile’s energy is imported at the moment, with just five percent being generated by renewable energy sources. Salgado hopes that geothermal energy can be used to make the country more energy independent, claiming that “the solutions are numerous: we need to talk about energy efficiency and many other things, but obviously, geothermal power is one of the inputs that could help to solve this problem.” New Zealand on the other hand produces 77% of its energy from renewable sources, with 15% coming from geothermal plants.

The Chileans hope that with New Zealand’s help they can boost the share of energy produced from renewable sources by 15 -20 percent by 2024.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com


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