Chile and its Great Potential as Marine Energy Producer

Mario HonrubiaInnovationSustainabilityengineersEnergy

The marine energy is a viable energy source and it's in constant growth. In fact, studies had proved that the potential of the electric power generation can overtake four times the worldwide current consumption, which would help to mitigate the power crisis.

Chile and the Marine Energy

One more time, Chile has captured the attention of the numerous energy producers due to its vast coastline, the strong swell and the current that generates the tides, which can get respectively till 66 kW/m and 5 m/s. It's been approximated that this factors would reach more than 160 GW of tidal power resources (the one that comes from the tides) which exceeds ten times the electric capacity installed in the country nowadays. While a capacity between the 500 MW and 800 MG can be taken only from the currents that come from the Canal del Chacao, next to Puerto Montt. This got that the country made the promise to install at least 1 GW of marine energy capacity.

The Non Conventional Renewable Energies in Chile

During the last two decades, the energy consumption in Chile has increased by more than the 50% and, this same way, the electric production as well. The majority of this is divided among hydroelectric, natural gas, coal and diesel. Due to the massive rise of the producer plants, the government had to implement a regulation to diversify the electric plan to accelerate the entrance of the Non-Conventional Energy (NCRE) in the country. This is how it was managed that a 10% of the distributed energy comes from the ERNC, nonetheless, this condition only applies to those systems over the 200 MW, which includes almost all the locations that have the biggest marine energy potential, such as the systems in Aysén and Magallanes, where are placed respectively the Canal del Chacao and the Estrecho de Magallanes. Both systems are well known for the strength of their waters.

The Advantage of the Marine Energy

Its best advantage is that, in comparison with other renewable energies, it's present during the 24 hours of the 365 days of the year. Solar energy depends on the day and the night while the eolian energy requires the existence of wind to work. The marine energy only needs the presence of the swell (that generates the wave power) and the tides (that generates the tidal power), two factors that are always present in the shores, especially in Chile's, which besides to have a long coastline, its water condition is easily predictable because the most of it comes from storms produced at the inner Pacific Ocean. In summary, wherever there is a coast, it's possible to get pressurized electric energy. Chile is worldwide well known for its swell resource and because it had more than the half of the marine wave power of whole Southamerica, so... Why do you think that there isn't any company investing yet? Should Chile change their power regulation to force to smaller plants to produce NCRE? We want to know your opinion! Join our engineering community here