Geothermal Power In Chile  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

Reuters reports copper miners in Chile are looking to avoid energy shortages by exploiting geothermal energy - Chile miners look to tap desert geyser energy.

Miners in northern Chile, the source of a third of the world's copper, may be sitting on the answer to energy shortages that make electricity in the zone among the world's most expensive.

The proposed source is the same geothermal energy that feeds geysers sitting on plains some 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) above sea level.

Miners producing more than 35 percent of the world's copper devour nearly every Megawatt of energy produced in the north, and many are eager to tap into the nearby geysers.

Some groups object to tapping that power, saying it could harm water supplies and also compromise the drawing power of the geysers as one of Chile's biggest tourist attractions.

Chile is in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where intense volcanic activity has produced some 115 thermal sites that can generate geothermal energy, according to reports from the National Mining and Geology Service.

Soaring Andes mountains along Chile's eastern border and the Pacific Ocean to the west enfold the world's driest desert in the north and lush woodlands to the south.

"Positive results in the exploration phase would be good news for Chile," said Oscar Valenzuela, chief executive at GDN, a joint venture between Chilean and Italian investors that is developing a geothermal exploration project in Quebrada del Zoquete, 4 kilometers (miles) from geysers in the heart of Chile's mining country.

"It would open a new opportunity for our country's geothermal potential, bringing clean energy to the power grid."

GDN says its plant could generate 40 MW to feed into the northern power grid, or SING, which is strained to the limit as it supplies miners and other sources of power are cut off.

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