Exclusive: Chile energy minister sees low power prices falling further

15 Jul 2017   Chile

Record low renewable energy prices in Chile are here to stay and will likely push power prices even lower, Chile’s energy minister told Reuters, a development that would pressure the nation’s already squeezed diesel and natural gas industries. Chile, with ample solar and wind resources, has become a poster child for renewable energy, with other countries looking to emulate the sector’s development. In August 2016, wind and solar producers won the right to supply around half of the power in a massive 12.3-terrwatt government auction to supply Chile’s public grid for 20 years starting in 2021. But some of the winning renewable projects are struggling to obtain financing, raising speculation that the rock-bottom prices at last year’s auction will not be repeated when producers come back to the table for a 2.2-terawatt contest this October. In an interview late on Thursday, Chilean Energy Minister Andres Rebolledo […]

Russian nuclear firm Rosatom eyes Chilean lithium

3 Oct 2016   Chile, Russia

The logo of Russian state nuclear monopoly Rosatom is pictured at the World Nuclear Exhibition 2014, the trade fair event for the global nuclear energy sector, in Le Bourget, near Paris, France, October 14, 2014. Russian state nuclear power plant giant Rosatom sent lobbyists to meet with the Chilean government and discuss “collaboration in possible lithium projects,” a government website revealed at the weekend. Four representatives of the company met with Mining Deputy Minister Igancio Moreno in September, according to information published on the government’s lobbying transparent website. Rosatom has signed billions of dollars worth of overseas contracts and is seen as a tool for Russia to wield political influence abroad. This year, it signed a contract to build a nuclear research center in Chile’s neighbor Bolivia. It also has interests in several other Latin American countries. Chile itself has no nuclear power plants and is not expected to […]

Battery-hungry world turns to South America’s ‘lithium triangle’

16 Mar 2016   Chile

Workers use a boat to take samples from a brine pool at the Rockwood Lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat, the largest lithium deposit currently in production, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile January 8, 2013. Far from the soy and cattle that dominate its vast fertile pampas, Argentina harbors another valuable commodity that is rocketing in price and demand and luring newly welcomed foreign investors. Lithium, the so-called “white petroleum”, drives much of the modern world. It forms a small but essentially irreplaceable component of rechargeable batteries, used in consumer devices like mobile phones and electric cars. It also has pharmaceutical and other applications. Over half of the earth’s identified resources of the mineral are found in South America’s “lithium triangle”, an otherworldly landscape of high-altitude lakes and bright white salt flats that straddles Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Until recently, that was not great news for […]