In Chile for the year 2023, a considerable majority of the electricity comes from low-carbon sources, making up over 63% of the nation’s total electricity. The leading contributions to this low-carbon energy mix are attributed to hydropower and solar power, constituting nearly 29% and close to 20% respectively. Conversely, fossil energies like gas and coal make up almost 37% of the total electricity. Within this, gas covers slightly over half at 18.5%, while coal fulfills just under half with a contribution of around 16.7%. In addition, wind energy holds about 12% of the green energy mix with biofuels trailing behind at a lower 2.34%.
A valuable strategy for Chile to improve its low-carbon electricity generation further may be to concentrate on the expansion of its wind and solar energy capabilities. These sustainable energy technologies are already contributing significantly to Chile's clean-energy portfolio and their enhancement could bolster their impact. Notably, countries such as Denmark and Uruguay have successfully managed to generate 59% and 41% of their electricity from wind energy respectively. Considering Chile's similar windy climate, these countries' success in thriving with wind power may serve as powerful examples to learn from. Moreover, nuclear energy could be another focus, as numerous countries including France, Slovakia, and Ukraine generate over 50% of their electricity from nuclear power. Implementing nuclear power could diversify Chile's low-carbon sources even further.
Chile’s journey of low-carbon electricity has predominantly been marked by fluctuations in hydroelectric power from the early 1990s, with regular growth observed until 1998, followed by a couple of downturns. In the early 2000s, the growth was reinstated, despite few setbacks, until around 2010. From 2011, biofuels started to make an appearance, albeit a minor one. As the 2020s began, solar energy also started contributing to Chile’s low-carbon electricity. Notably, in 2022, both hydroelectric and solar power registered increase in contributions, setting the stage for 2023 where a balanced growth was seen in both energy sources. Hence, the history of low-carbon electricity in Chile has been marked by the steady growth of hydroelectric power, with recent diversification including solar power into the mix. Despite some decreases over the years, the overall trend remains positive, showing Chile's commitment towards advancing its green initiatives.