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Geothermal energy can help Chile decarbonise

Geothermal energy can help Chile decarbonise

Chile seeks to capitalise on the potential of geothermal energy, which could generate 3,800MW and accelerate the decarbonisation of its energy matrix

The Chilean government has already granted concessions for new geothermal energy projects on more than 43,000 hectares. This indicates the South American country’s massive potential for this source of energy.

Some small projects including a school and a prisoner education programme in the southern Aysén region already use geothermal but experts are just realising the possibilities for the wider deployment of energy derived from natural heat sources across Chile.

Geothermal is a type of renewable energy that uses heat from the subsurface of the earth, which is brought to above ground via pipes. The heat has been generated by the original formation of the planet and the radioactive decay of materials. This thermal energy is stored in rocks and fluids.

the potential for new geothermal energy in Chile
Chile has the potential to add 3,800 megawatts (mw) of geothermal energy that can be used for heating, electricity, or even agriculture, but for now it’s still largely unexploited. The country sits in the middle of the “Ring of Fire”, a set of tectonic plates in the Pacific that experience the greatest seismic and volcanic activity anywhere in the world.

With access to these sources around the country, geothermal energy could become far more widespread in the coming years, as outlined in Chile’s national plan to reduce greenhouse gases. The energy sector generates 78% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. Most come from coal-fired thermoelectric plants.

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