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Bachelet announces emergency plan to tackle energy shortage with natural gas

Friday, May 16th 2014 - 11:08 UTC
Full article 25 comments
A third LNG terminal will be built and the debt-plagued oil company ENAP is to be bolstered A third LNG terminal will be built and the debt-plagued oil company ENAP is to be bolstered

President Michelle Bachelet announced on Thursday that Chile would invest 650 million dollars to build a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and strengthen the state-run oil company in an effort to deal with a mounting power crunch.

 An LNG terminal, Chile's third, would be built in the central-south region of the country, alongside the already running Mejillones in the mineral-rich north and centrally-located Quintero, which is set to also be expanded.

“We want more LNG in electricity generation, with greater availability of re-gasification terminals,” Bachelet said.

Power projects in Chile have increasingly faced strong public opposition on health and environmental grounds, often winding up entangled in regulatory limbo and litigation.

State oil company Empresa Nacional del Petroleo (ENAP) would participate in the construction of the new LNG terminal, and the energy plan included an extra 400 million to bolster the debt-plagued firm.

But experts warn that LNG is no silver bullet, and much depends on whether its price falls well below that of coal.

The government estimates that its energy drive will help add a little over 6,000 megawatts to Chile's current matrix of roughly 18,000 megawatts by 2025. Like many of its emerging market peers, Chile is struggling to strike a balance between its power-hungry mining industry and the environment.

Illustrating the social challenge, a small group of protesters demonstrated in front of the La Moneda palace on Thursday to protest the Alto Maipo hydropower project, which they say could harm Santiago's water supply and ecosystem.

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Klingon

    1000's of km's of coastline and they can put up a few wind turbines?
    LNG power sounds like a bad short term plan. Surely they can strike a balance between nature and a hydro dam.

    May 16th, 2014 - 11:18 am 0
  • ElaineB

    Wind turbines are not the answer IMO.

    That oil refinery between Quintero and Zapallar is an ugly scar on a beautiful coastline. Chileans tell me there have been problems with pollution there. But, I guess, expanding it couldn't be any more unsightly.

    As the article says, this is the dilemma of developing countries. Chile is an extraordinarily beautiful country and relatively unspoilt but in order for it to develop and benefit Chileans, there has to be more available power.

    I personally agree with the proposed hydroelectric dam. When I was in the Aisen region, pretty much everyone I spoke to thought it would be good for the area. I would hazard a guess that the people in Santiago protesting the development of the dam have all the power and conveniences they need. JMO

    May 16th, 2014 - 12:21 pm 0
  • Condorito

    There are 100s of turbine on the coast and more going up all the time. Wind turbine alone are not the solution.

    There are pilot projects in the north for solar plants. For me this is much more important. The mines need energy in the north and the potential for solar-electric generation is massive.

    @2 Elaine
    As was pointed out during the popular protests during Piñera's term, our environmentalists have put themselves in the extraordinary position of preferring fossil fuel over hydro in the name of aesthetics.

    May 16th, 2014 - 01:00 pm 0
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