Chilean Mining Shows The World How To Use New Energy
These Massive Renewable Energy Projects Are Powering Chilean Mines; A surge in solar, geothermal, and wind development is helping to wean the industry off imported fossil fuels.
Laura Millan Lombrano and Jamey Stillings, August 7 2018 (Bloomberg Businessweek)
“…Miners say minerals] are so abundant in Chile’s northern Atacama Desert, you can get copper just by kicking the mountain…[but minerals decrease] as the miners dig deeper, meaning companies need to process more ore to extract the same amount of metal, a messy and highly polluting process…To fuel that effort, they need vast amounts of energy…[Chile imports its fossil fuels,] making electricity there extremely expensive…In 2013, Chile passed a law mandating that 20 percent of its energy come from renewable sources by 2025, leading to a surge in renewable energy projects…
…[Atacama] receives more solar radiation than almost any other spot on Earth. Strong winds blowing in from the Pacific coast and the Andes Mountains also make it ideal for wind power…Mines represent about a third of Chile’s overall power usage, and electricity and fuel costs combined to make up 11 percent of total mining costs for the country’s 21 largest mines…With prices for solar energy falling more than 60 percent from 2014 through the first half of this year, [much of the new renewable capacity is being used by the mining industry and] many mining operations see investing in [their own solar and wind projects or contracting for New Energy] as a way to lower their energy bills…A massive government project to connect [Chile’s Northern and Southern] grids, begun in 2015, now gives broad access to Atacama’s wind and solar energy…” click here for more