Chile wants to export solar energy to Asia via 15,000km submarine cable

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From pv magazine International

The Chilean government is planning to build a submarine cable to export photovoltaic energy to China, according to Chilean solar energy association – ACESOL – which cited a statement made by Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera, during the National Meeting of Entrepreneurs (ENADE).

Called Antípodas, the project is aimed at taking advantage of the huge solar potential of the Atacama Desert, which is the world’s region with the highest solar radiation.

Piñera explained that, through the cable, the electricity produced by between 200 and 600 GW of photovoltaic generation capacity may transmit power to Asian countries when it is daytime in Chile and nighttime across the Pacific, or when it is winter in Asia and summer in the southern hemisphere.

“We have the deserts with the highest solar radiation in the world and a gigantic potential for generating clean, renewable and economic solar energy, which we can export during our day to supply Asian countries,” said Piñera.

The president clarified that the idea is particularly ambitious and that just to carry it out requires studies and strategic alliances with large Asian economies. The cable should be about 15,000km long and building a 1,300km cable would cost $2 billion. In addition, it would be necessary to invest in new solar plants since Chile has 3,106 MW of photovoltaic capacity installed, according to IRENA.

In Europe, British company Xlinks announced in the spring that it plans to build 10.5 GW of wind and solar power in Morocco and sell the power generated by the massive plant in the U.K. This would be possible thanks to a 3,800km, high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line. In total, Xlinks expected to invest about £18 billion ($24.1 billion).

In Asia, Sun Cable is leading a consortium that wants to build the Australia-ASEAN Power Link (AAPL) project, which would export solar energy from Australia’s Outback to Singapore via a submarine transmission link.

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