Chile's Plans to Combat Power Blackouts

CHILE’S government has plans to reduce voltages to cut energy consumption nationwide and avoid potential energy cuts in the future.

Chilean media report that the risk of blackouts is growing as a result of reduced rainfall, necessary to feed Chile’s hydroelectric reservoirs, and have predicted a 10 percent rise in energy bills because of supply shortfalls and increased demand.

Laurence Golborne, Chile’s mining and energy minister, said the government plans gradually to reduce voltages between 5 percent and 10 percent as one of several measures to save energy as a long lasting drought hits hydroelectric generation. He revealed that they have no plans to step up fuel imports to run thermal plants and fend off an energy crisis.

The local media also report that Chile’s energy grid is currently so thinly stretched that, if a power station fails, blackouts, which recently affected nine of the country’s regions at once, are guaranteed.

Golborne told the local press that the government will “incorporate a decree to ration energy” in order to reduce the risk of energy cuts over the coming months.

Chile was last forced to ration its energy sources in early 2008. Energy saving measures taken at that time also included a reduction of voltage of the electricity supplied, in an effort to reduce energy consumption.

Golborne said: “We had a very dry 2010, and the water reservoir situation is quite bleak. If the situation in 2011 is similarly dry, we could have energy supply problems.”

Energy Efficiency steps taken by the public and private sector would greatly help by lowering power demand on a delicate grid.

Picture by Fahrenheit75

Friday 18th February 2011

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