Abstract

A unique pumped hydro storage facility using the ocean as a lower reservoir, combined with solar PV to create consistent, clean power will be presented. This project will allow for large scale renewable energy adoption in Chile. The country's Atacama Desert has one of the best solar resources of the world. Unfortunately, the electricity grid in that northern region has one of the highest carbon footprints in the world because almost all of the electricity generation comes from fossil fuel power plants. Nearly 90% of the demand on that northern grid is from mining companies. Their operations' energy needs are high and constant - day and night, and as a result the mining companies will not assume the intermittency risk of renewable energy resources. Until now, solar and wind developers have only been able to offer intermittent solutions and, therefore, have been unable to sign major power purchase agreements.

The Vision Valhalla

Valhalla Energy is an independent Chilean-owned power development company focused on the development, ownership and operation of renewable power projects. The Company was founded in 2011 with the goal of developing Chile's natural renewable energy resources and strategically diversify the country's energy matrix away from an overdependence on imported fossil fuels. Valhalla began developing pumped storage hydro projects to provide scalable, clean, competitive, and reliable electricity by combining Chile's superior solar resources with the country's unique and extensive coastline suitable for storage.

The capacity for renewable energy supply is driven by two distinct and unique natural characteristics found in northern Chile:

  1. the abundant and reliable solar irradiation in the Atacama Desert and

  2. a coastal site that benefits from a steep cliff and a natural concavity both within a relatively small land mass. There are several potential sites in the northern part of the country that can be developed. The "Espejo de Tarapacá Project" is the first one to be built.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.