A study led by economist Claudio Agostini estimated annual benefits of up to US$5.2 million if only 150 MW are imported from Peru, and up to US$8.4 million if the same amount of solar energy is exported to Argentina. The proposal appears to be a solution to energy losses, which reached 18% of renewable generation as of March, and could also reduce diesel generation by almost 80%.

The creation of a cross-border market for surplus energy could be part of the solution that different solar generators require to stop losing what they produce and fail to inject into the National Electric System (SEN). A remedy that would also bring economic and environmental benefits, given the lower dispatch of thermal power plants, which generate electricity based on diesel.

This is revealed by the results of a research led by economist Claudio Agostini, who together with the former deputy planning manager of the National Coordinator, Andrés Guzmán, and two academics from the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences of the Adolfo Ibáñez University, modeled three scenarios that consider the transfer at certain times of only 150 MW between Peru and Chile, the same amount from Chile to Argentina, and a combination of both cases.

The proposal considered power exchanges through the existing transmission line that connects Chile to Argentina.

The results show that the lower generation costs in Peru during non-solar hours (from 00:00 to 07:59, and from 17:00 to 23:59) would help to reduce the dispatch of diesel-based thermal power plants, reducing pollutant emissions, but also reducing daily operating costs from US$1.8 million to US$1.64 million, lowering the operation by 8.9%. Thus, the average hourly cost of the system is reduced from US$34.8 per MWh to US$31.7 per MWh. A drop of 8.7%.

In total, the simulation showed a lower daily generation of diesel plants from an average of 2,235 MWh, to one of 450 MWh. A reduction of 78.9%.

Meanwhile, the average daily marginal cost of the system would see a decrease of 43.8% compared to the case without importing energy from Peru, thanks to the substitution of high-cost generation during the hours in which non-conventional renewable energies (NCRE) are not dispatched.

This case would generate total annual benefits of US$10.37 million, of which US$5.2 million would be in favor of Chile.

The simulations with Argentina, on the other hand, consider shipments of surplus solar energy, with lower production costs during daylight hours, and thanks to the high penetration of this type of technology in the country, in contrast to the higher dispatch of diesel power plants in Argentina. Thus, exports would take place between 08:00 and 17:00, and would push up systemic costs by 3%, and marginal costs by 2.6%, but would generate a total annual benefit of US$16.82 million, of which US$8.4 million would remain in the country.

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