How satisfied are you with developments in recent years?
At one time, you either had to be an idealist or a philanthropist to believe in renewable energy. Today it is possible to generate power from renewables on a large scale and at an attractive price. It’s amazing! Few people would now question that renewables are a real and better alternative.
What doubts did you have to contend with?
People used to think of renewables as being unreliable, costly and not worth the effort. These days we’re in the same league as the major energy suppliers. We have achieved this by playing an active role as an association, by co-authoring draft legislation for example.
How important is support from foreign organisations such as GIZ?
GIZ works closely with the Ministry of Energy and brings a great deal of know-how and expertise in matters such as project development. We’re grateful for any support which helps Chile move closer to its goals. And we have achieved a lot in a relatively short space of time – although other countries in the region started before us, in Chile we now have a regulatory package that serves as a model for others.
How important is the topic of renewables for the people of Chile?
We often hear how the developed world is the cause of air pollution – and how we are impacted by climate change. But there is less awareness of the fact that we can help to tackle climate change ourselves, little is said about local emissions. And renewables offer so many opportunities – in coastal regions, for example, where there are still coal-fired power stations. These regions could in future create new opportunities for tourism.
Interview: Karen Naundorf