CNN Sets Out to Discover Enel's Ollagüe project

Published on Friday, 19 June 2015

The CNN too climbed up the driveway of Route 21 to reach an altitude of over 3500 metres in a remote corner of Chile on the border with Bolivia. It was not the lunar landscape of the Andean plateau with its volcanoes and salt lakes that had drawn the attention of the cameras, but a village with just over three hundred inhabitants, which seems light-years away from the technological and digital world of the large metropolis, but is actually an output of the innovation that is building the future.

Ollagüe is a small jewel of sustainability and the CNN presents it as a tangible example of commitment to granting sustainable energy to all. Enel Green Power is in fact developing for the community of the Chilean village a project that combines innovation, environmental protection, renewable energy and the involvement of the local population. The result is a perfect example of the Creating Shared Value model that EGP is introducing along the entire value chain of its business. The project was described to CNN by EGP's head for Chile and the Andes countries Salvatore Bernabei, Chile Green Power's Head in Chile Martino Pasti, together with the town's mayor Carlos Reygadas and Luis Condori, a shopkeeper from Ollagüe who has always lived in this remote corner of the Latin American Country that has today become the symbol of a new future also possible for many other communities that live in isolated areas of this nation.

The full-round sustainability that characterises the Ollagüe project starts from electricity generation, involves distribution grids going on to relations with the consumers. In fact in the Chilean town EGP is completing a wide-ranging technological hybridisation formula, by means of renewable energy plants (small wind and solar PV) to be combined with the existing cogeneration system and integrated into an autonomous network, made self-sufficient with the aid of storage devices that complete and smarten up the project.

EGP's project fulfils a dream of the local population that up to now has lacked stable and continuous access to electricity, having had to rely up to now on a diesel generator. Thanks to the integration of renewable plants into a cogeneration system, the project will attain an installed capacity of 232 kW and will generate around 460 MWh per year, enabling an around-the-clock availability of energy for the inhabitants of the Chilean township. A full 85 percent of consumption needs will be met by renewable resources, thus limiting the use of the existing generator down to specific cases and during the winter.

Ollagüe is an innovation laboratory on several levels: on the one hand it enables the testing of the performance of various materials and technologies at high altitudes and with strong temperature fluctuations, on the other it offers a unique reference for assessing the performance of the technological mix applied to meet the needs of isolated communities lacking access to electricity.