Energy efficiency has important role to play in Chile


Marcelo Tokman,
Minister of Energy,
Santiago, Chile — (METERING.COM) — January 22, 2009 – Energy efficiency has an important role to play in meeting the energy needs of Chile and the country must strengthen the efficient use of energy as a strategic goal of sustainable development, according to a recent report outlining new energy policy guidelines from the National Energy Commission (Comisión Nacional de Energía, CNE).

The report, entitled “Energy policy: New guidelines” (“Política Energética: Nuevos Lineamientos”), says that studies have indicated a significant potential for energy efficiency in Chile – between 1,700 MW and 4,100 MW by 2025 according to the Energy Studies and Investigations Program (Programa de Estudios e Investigaciones en Energía, PRIEN) at the University of Chile.

Four lines of action have been proposed to increase the efficient use of energy in Chile: To establish the institutional base for energy efficiency, to develop adequate knowledge for decision making, to promote energy efficiency in all sectors, and to regulate the markets, in particular the electric market, to incentivize efficiency. The Energy Efficiency Country Program (Programa País de Eficiencia Energética, PPEE) was established to implement these actions in 2005, initially under the economy ministry but since 2008 incorporated within the CNE.

The report says that during 2009 an energy efficiency action plan for the years 2010 to 2020 will be developed, detailing the objectives, lines of action, programs, financing options and evaluation tools. To support the plan a series of end use surveys are scheduled with assessors from institutions such as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. A review of energy efficiency measures also will be undertaken by a group of experts from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The report notes that a significant part of the actions taken to date has sought to increase public awareness of the importance and potential of energy efficiency. This will continue during 2009, with a new 12-part program on energy on national TV. It is also planned to introduce energy efficiency into the curriculum at middle school level.

At government level a program to improve energy efficiency in public buildings has been introduced. So far 16 energy audits have been undertaken, and during 2009 another four public buildings will be added to the program.

Among the most important measures that have been introduced is the lighting change-out program (Programa Nacional de Recambio de Ampolletas), which has the target of supplying energy efficient lighting to the most vulnerable 40 percent of the population. More than one million lights were supplied during 2008 and during 2009 it is planed to supply approximately 2.8 million lights. It is also planned to introduce an incentive scheme for thermal reconditioning of homes, with a target of 10,000 homes in 2009 to 2010.

In the industrial sector the energy efficiency potential has been estimated between 0.5 percent and 2.9 percent annually. At the end of 2006 a financial fund for energy efficiency support was launched. Subsequently this has grown and also includes a new $400 million fund – to be launched in 2009 – for the creation of security instruments associated to energy efficiency projects.

At the regulatory level, the aim has been to introduce incentives for energy efficiency in the relevant sectors. In the electricity sector a review is under way with experts from California and Italy on the regulatory changes that would be required and on the possible decoupling of utility earnings from the supply of energy.

As well as energy efficiency the report reviews all aspects of the electric sector in Chile.

“I believe that this document will mark the beginning of a process of analysis and review of the alternatives we have for our strategic and long term energy development,” said energy minister Marcelo Tokman at its launch.