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In early 2018, Chile announced that it will not build any new coal-fired power plants (without CCS) and will develop a plan to phase out coal—which made up 41% of electricity generation in 2016—aligned with the objectives set in the 2050 Energy Strategy. This is in line with current trends in Chile, where coal-fired power plant permitting has stalled in recent years in response to comparatively low costs of renewable energy. Chile’s revised energy sector planning, published in December 2017, already reflects this change, with no additional coal plants added beyond those under construction today. The strategy still projects a share of coal of 19% of electricity generation in 2050, which would need to be close to zero to be 1.5°C compatible.
Chile is currently pursuing its 2050 Energy Strategy, which aims for renewable energy targets of at least 60% by 2035 and 70% by 2050 for electricity generation. Notably, the most recent energy sector planning documents—the Mitigation Plan for the Energy Sector, the Energy Route 2018–2022, and the Electromobility Strategy—align towards these goals. The Energy Route 2018–2022 includes actions such as increasing energy efficiency, promoting small distributed renewable energy and starting the process of decarbonising Chile’s energy matrix. The Chilean Electromobility Strategy sets out an action plan to achieve a 40% share of the private vehicle fleet—and 100% of public vehicles—being electric by 2050. In early 2018, as a measure to foster decentralised renewable energy deployment, Chile reformed its “Net Billing” Law.
With currently implemented policies, Chile is likely to achieve its 2020 pledge but not its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Paris Agreement targets, which we rate “Highly Insufficient”. Full implementation of Chile’s planned policies from its 2050 Energy Strategy would result in achievement of its unconditional NDC, however further action including in relation to a higher penetration of renewables in the power sector by 2050 will be needed to lower emissions further and improve its CAT rating.
Chile’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) includes unconditional, conditional and specific land use change and forestry (LULUCF) targets. Chile is committed to an unconditional target of reducing GHG emissions intensity of GDP to 30% below 2007 levels by 2030, which we estimate will lead to GHG emissions levels of 154% above 1990 and 42% above 2010, excluding LULUCF, based on current GDP projections by the government. The conditional target (conditional on international financial support in the form of grants) is a 35–45% reduction of GHG emission intensity of GDP below 2007 levels by 2030, which is equivalent to 100–136 % above 1990 levels and 12–24% above 2010 GHG emissions levels, excluding LULUCF. We rate Chile’s unconditional target “Highly Insufficient”.
Chile has also pledged to sustainably manage and recover 100,000 hectares of forest by 2030 and to reforest 100,000 ha (Government of Chile, 2015), subject to approval of new laws. Chile is one of the few countries to separate the LULUCF sector target from other emissions, which increases the transparency of its proposed actions.
Under the Copenhagen Accord, Chile proposed to undertake Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) to reach an emissions level 20% below business-as-usual (BAU) by 2020 (as projected from 2007). Chile is likely to achieve this target, which we rate “Insufficient.”
The positive changes in the energy supply sector - moving away from coal and increasing the share of renewable energy, are linked to ever decreasing costs for renewable energy in comparison to coal in Chile, particularly in the case of solar (IRENA, 2015; Ministerio de Energía, 2017c). Current solar PV and onshore wind costs in Chile are as low as USD 0.03/kWh to USD 0.04/kWh (IRENA, 2018).
Chile is already expanding its renewable capacity and, as of December 2016, 52% of the generation capacity under construction was non-conventional renewable energy sources1 (Comisión Nacional de Energía and Ministerio de Energía, 2017). The share of electricity generation from non-conventional renewable energy increased from 4% in 2014 to 11% in 2016, which is a 59% increase (Comisión Nacional de Energía, 2017).
1 | Chile defines non-conventional renewable energy sources as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, tidal, and hydro up to 20MW.