Chilean hybrid energy project defies Covid

By Mike Hayes27 May 2020

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Enel Green’s combined solar and wind plants in Chile

A new solar-to-wind energy project is under construction in Chile, even as the coronavirus pandemic has caused the government to declare a state of emergency.

Enel Green Power (EGP) has broken ground on what it claims is the country’s first hybrid industrial plant – a 60.9MW solar park, situated adjacent to the currently operational 90MW Valle de los Vientos wind power complex.

The two renewable power sources will ultimately combine to create the hybrid power generation source.

EGP has chosen to install bifacial solar panels at the new site, with power produced from both sides of the module, increasing total energy generation, potentially by up to 30%.

The company said construction of the solar arrays should be completed by early 2021.

It added that “rigorous work protocols” were in place to ensure the safety of workers, including compulsory PPE (personal protective equipment) and social distancing measures for the 200-plus members of staff who will be on site at the peak of construction activity.

Justifying its continuing operations in Chile, EGP said it was utilising its inventive spirit to cope with the ongoing crisis while guaranteeing essential services to families, communities and hospitals.

It said, “Some unexpected events are so powerful that they upend our daily lives and oblige us to adopt new rules of behaviour, new ways of interacting with others, new styles of working. The Covid-19 outbreak definitely qualifies as one of the most shocking events of our time, a health emergency that’s putting us all to the test as individuals and as companies. But change can’t be stopped, so all we can do is react to overcome this by leveraging our extensive experience.”

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