Helping the desert to flourish
Electricity: a dream come true
Stable access to electricity is no longer a dream for the inhabitants of the small Chilean village located at more than 3,500 metres of altitude in a remote area in the Atacama desert.
With the Ollagüe project we used a unique energy solution to enable progress for the community's 200 inhabitants. Enel Green Power has created the world's first energy system built at high altitude, combining a solar PV field, wind power and a solar co-generation plant, all connected to a an advanced storage system through a micro-grid.
We worked closely with the local quechua community to build out this pioneering technology in response to their needs. As a result schools, roads, homes and small businesses now have clean and modern electricity all day.
“Ollagüe is a full-featured example of our Creating Shared Value model, in which sustainability and innovation become one single thing.”
Riccardo Amoroso, Enel Green Power's Head of Innovation
New life for an entire community
The access to stable energy has transformed life in the village. People have hot water 24 hours a day, the small community school has enough electricity to also teach IT skills, and the only food shop in the village has a fridge that can keep food fresh around the clock.
The project covers 85% of the electricity needs of the community ensuring energy independence and avoiding the annual consumption of 6 thousand liters of fuel previously used to power the diesel generator.
A crucial aspect of the project was the specialist training given to the locals so they are able to maintain the hybrid plant, and the entire system, independently.
“The hybrid plant integrates three renewable technologies, an electricity storage system and a stand-alone and self-sufficient distribution grid.”
High-altitude innovation lab
For Enel the project is a very useful real-life innovation lab, in a number of ways: it enables us to test the behaviour of several materials and technologies at high level and with temperature variations of more than 40°C; and it offers us a unique reference point to assess the effectiveness of a system that can become a transformational solution for other isolated communities around the globe.
“The inhabitants of Ollagüe are now regularly performing activities and actions that are only enabled by stable electricity.”