SEATTLE, Washington — Turning to renewable energy has helped Latin American countries in a number of ways. One is that it has increased economic activity in these countries, which has provided the people the promise of employment. It has also helped Latin American countries to compete in the global market by bringing investors to their country. For example, since 2004, “investment in renewable energy has increased 11-fold,” which is almost double the global rate according to a 2016 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency. Due to the benefits of renewable energy, many people in Latin American countries have been given new opportunities. One good example of this is the use of wind energy in Chile.
Wind Energy in Chile
The Chilean government decided to bring wind energy into Chile for a number of reasons. One reason is to maintain a degree of energy independence. Chile has historically been known for being heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels and using coal and diesel to provide its electrical needs. As a result, Chile is using wind energy and other renewable resources to remove its reliance on fossil fuels. Renewable energy is also cheaper to develop. For example, Chile reduced the cost of installation for onshore wind projects by 20% between 2010 and 2017.
The natural landscape of Chile is another reason why the government has turned to wind energy. The country harvested 32.7% of its energy from wind in December 2019. Another 47.3% came from solar energy. The Atacama Desert is a good example of how the natural landscape of Chile is ideal for taking advantage of renewable energy in Chile. The desert receives more solar radiation than most places on Earth, making it ideal for solar energy. As for wind energy, the desert has strong winds blowing from the Pacific coast and Andes Mountains, making the location excellent for harvesting wind energy.
The Impact of Renewable Energy
There are several other positive aspects of wind energy.
- The obvious positive impact of wind energy is that wind does not run out. Furthermore, using the wind for energy does not have as many adverse effects on the environment as burning fossil fuels does.
- It provides the country with a significant amount of electricity. In 2018, about 32% of renewable energy came from wind power. This demonstrates how much wind contributes to the country’s renewable energy sector.
- Like other Latin American countries, renewable energy has made Chile attractive for investment. In 2015, Chile was ranked third “in renewable energy investment attractiveness.”
- Renewable energy also creates jobs especially for people in smaller communities. For example, the people of Rancagua, Chile have benefited by embracing wind energy. It increased job prospects and could provide money for community projects.
- Wind energy in Chile has also helped the country in its mining industry. A wind farm north of Santiago, the capital of Chile, is providing 70% of its power to a large copper mine.
Wind energy in Chile has been beneficial. It has been a means for the country to keep a cleaner environment, stimulate its economy and provide its people an opportunity to work. Hopefully, more countries will follow Chile’s lead.
– Jacob E. Lee