Hydropower output in Chile plunges

Chile’s hydropower production is well below normal thanks to a significant drop in rainfall, said Energy Minister Marcelo Tokman.

So far in 2009, rain levels in Chile are 46 percent below average and 27 percent below levels for the same period in 2008, Tokman said.

“It is true that we are in a weaker position in terms of hydro generation, worse than last year and worse than what we had hoped,” he said. “But we are not worried, because we have over 2,000 MW in backup capacity.”

Tokman noted that weather forecasers were predicting significant rainfall over the next few months.

A severe drought a year ago in Chile, combined with natural gas cuts from Argentina, pushed the country to the brink of power rationing.

A recent study found that Chile has great potential for wave and tidal energy development. (HydroWorld 6/1/09) The study by Inter American Development Bank offers detailed steps for developing hydrokinetic energy off the shores of Chile.

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