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October 24, 2012
Renewable energy opportunities in Chile

If you manufacture or distribute a renewable energy technology and want to export your product, there is no better place to explore new opportunities than Chile. 

That is the view of the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), which is recruiting companies to attend a trade policy mission to Santiago April 15 to 16, 2013, followed immediately by a 3-day trade show. 

The mission is designed to be led by a senior Department of Commerce official and will focus on creating a policy environment conducive to growth in Chile’s renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE&EE) market and introducing U.S. RE&EE exporters to key Chilean government officials.

Growing economy

According to the ITA, the renewable energy market in Chile is booming or soon will be.  The nation’s economy grew 6.1 percent in 2011, causing a “dramatic increase” in energy demand.  The ITA estimates that an additional 8 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity will be needed by 2020 to accommodate growth.  The Chilean government has set a goal of generating 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.  Considering that in 2011, renewable energy (apart from hydropower) contributed only 2.7 of Chile’s power, the nation will need to substantially ramp up its renewable investments.

Chile possesses some of the world’s largest potential for renewable energy, states the ITA.  The country has installed only 0.198 of its estimated wind energy capacity of 10 GW.  Likewise, Chile has developed only about half its biomass potential and has a small fraction of at least 2 GW of geothermal potential under development.  Chile’s solar potential is one of the largest in the world and also has been largely undeveloped.

Friendly policies

The ITA believes the mission will occur at an opportune time as leaders in the Chilean government are seeking to establish policy to support the growth of renewable energy in their country.  Business representatives accepted into ITA’s mission will have a “unique opportunity” to meet Chilean government officials, discuss policy concerns, and suggest creative solutions to Chile’s energy challenges, says the ITA.  Expected topics of discussion include establishing incentives to help Chile meet its renewable energy goals; developing interconnection standards and feed-in tariffs that would attract global investment; mapping renewable energy resources; strengthening regulatory cooperation between the U.S. and Chile; and developing local financing institutions to further encourage development. 

Applications accepted now

The ITA says it will accept between 15 and 25 companies for participation in the mission.  Applicants will be evaluated by suitability of the company’s products or services to the market; likelihood of exports resulting from the mission; and consistency of the applicant’s goals and objectives with the stated scope of the mission.  Diversity of company size and location may also be considered during the review process.

Recruitment for the mission will begin immediately, says the ITA, and conclude no later than March 1, 2013.  Selection decisions will be made on a rolling basis beginning November 1, 2012.  Applications received after March 1, 2013, will be considered only if space and scheduling permit.

ITA’s notice on its RE&EE trade mission to Chile, including all conditions for participation, was published in the October 18, 2012, FR.

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