Chile Presents National Strategy to Become a World Leader in Green Hydrogen

(November 3, 2020)
At the opening of the international conference "Chile 2020: Green Hydrogen Summit", President Sebastián Piñera and Energy Minister Juan Carlos Jobet announced an ambitious national strategy to develop the green hydrogen industry in the country and place Chile among the world's leading producers of this renewable fuel by 2040.

Chile's national green hydrogen strategy has three main objectives:

  • to have 5 GW of electrolysis capacity under development by 2025,
  • to produce the most cost-efficient green hydrogen by 2030, and
  • to be among the top three exporters by 2040.

To achieve these objectives, an action plan has been developed to accelerate the deployment of the national green hydrogen industry until 2025 and to be able to export green hydrogen and its derivatives from 2030 onwards.

In parallel, an operational task-force will establish transparent permitting procedures and develop pilot projects for green hydrogen and its derivatives. Minister Jobet details that "we will also create another task force to position Chile at an international level and form three international consortia in Chile for electrolysis capacities of at least 1 GW each".

To increase the demand for this clean fuel, quota mechanisms will be explored for use in gas networks, an approach similar to that successfully applied earlier to foster renewable energies. In addition, a working group will be set up with companies to accelerate the use of green hydrogen in industry processes. It is intended that the hydrogen industry will be considered in political decisions on spatial planning and development, in particular in relation to the necessary infrastructure.

The Ministry seeks to resolve critical barriers and will establish the necessary safety standards to ensure planning certainty.

Other key actions contemplated in the strategy are capacity building and knowledge transfer to meet the workforce and labour needs that this new industry will demand. It also provides for the involvement of local communities and stakeholders to ensure early and ongoing participation. This aims to increase the value that can be captured by local suppliers.

Green Hydrogen Summit Chile 2020

President Piñera stressed in his opening remarks at the Green Hydrogen Summit Chile 2020 that “hydrogen will allow us to commit to a balanced development throughout the country, as well as promoting the training of our workforce, generating a motor for progress and economic recovery. Green hydrogen will allow us to export our renewable energy to a world that is rapidly moving towards decarbonisation and that needs clean and affordable energy.” The summit was the largest green hydrogen conference in Latin America and one of the main virtual conferences with free access at an international level.

On the first day of the international summit, Dr. Fatih Birol, Director of the International Energy Agency, presented an analysis of hydrogen development worldwide. Six ministers from Chile discussed with their international peers in the political sessions. The German government was represented by State Secretary Andreas Feicht (BWMi), State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth (BMU) and the Ambassador to Chile, Dr. Christian Hellbach. 

Energy Minister Juan Carlos Jobet detailed the action plan that aims to make Chile a world leader in the production and export of green hydrogen. Green hydrogen is a vector that allows sustainable economic growth and can also create new jobs. A study, carried out by the GIZ, projects a growth of more than 20,000 new jobs in 2030, more than 80,000 in 2040 and more than 90,000 until 2050, just considering the growth of the hydrogen market as an effect of implementing the NDC .

"Green hydrogen is a strategic opportunity for Chile. Our country is the ideal place to produce and export green hydrogen and its derivatives, including ammonia, methanol and synthetic fuels," said Minister Jobet.

The second day was marked by the Industrial Forum, where the German companies Siemens, Linde and RWE were present. At the same time, more than 250 bilateral business meetings were held.

The Virtual Summit can be reviewed here
All stands can still be visited here

The event was organized by the Chilean Ministry of Energy, CORFO and the GIZ.

State Secretary Andreas Feicht (BMWi) speaking on the panel on POLITICAL ECONOMICS OF HYDROGEN:HOW TO BUILD BACK GREENER

Chile’s Local Advantages for "Green" Hydrogen Production

Hydrogen is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, and flammable gas.  It is not found in its pure state in nature; therefore, it cannot be considered as a primary energy source.
Sustainable, "green" hydrogen is produced by electrolysis with electricity from renewable energies. It is an emission-free gas that can be stored and used for transport and energy-intensive industry processes. From "green" hydrogen, derivatives such as green ammonia, green methanol, green methane or other sustainable synthetic fuels can be produced and used in various sectors. 

Chile has

  • a unique potential for generating electricity with renewable energies (especially solar and wind) with high operating and full load hours. Prices for electricity from photovoltaic systems are below 20 USD/MWh and for wind energy below 30 USD/MWh.
  • sufficient land areas available for renewable energy plants and little conflict of land areas with other types of use.
  • signed the Paris Climate Agreement, pursues an ambitious energy turnaround policy and has decided to phase out coal-fired power generation (three coal-fired power plants have already been shut down).
  • large international groups active in the mining and energy sector, which are interested in decarbonizing their production with "green" hydrogen.
  • good trade relations with Germany/Europe and is open for even more technology transfer from Germany.
  • a regional impact on the neighbouring countries
  • been an export country for a long time and has a good export infrastructure.

 

In Chile

  • the expansion of renewable generation capacities runs parallel to the expansion of the electricity supply for the population and industry.
  • an expansion of hydrogen production that will also be ready to export has no negative impact on the country's security of supply.
  • creating a hydrogen infrastructure that is an official component of the Chilean decarbonization strategy with the target of CO2 neutrality in 2050. The "green" Hydrogen economy is supposed to contribute 21 percent to GHG mitigation.
  • water supply for planned electrolysis plants is generally not a problem and can be provided in the arid north of Chile (Atacama Desert) in connection with seawater desalination plants.

 

The Chilean Ministry of Energy and the governmental production development corporation CORFO have recognised "green" hydrogen as a contribution to Chile's decarbonisation and, with the support of the IKI decarbonisation project, are currently working on a "road map" for the further support of private sector initiatives.

In a High-Level (Virtual) Steering Committee on January 29, the Chilean Minister Jobet and State Secretary Feicht agreed to establish two working groups, “Carbon phase-out, renewables phase-in” and “Carbon Neutral Innovations”. In the latter the BMWi and the Chilean Ministry of Energy work together in optimising their national hydrogen strategies and to foster technological exchange.

Further Reads

Green Hydrogen Regulation Challenges

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Exclusive Dialogue: "Hidden Champion" of Green Hydrogen

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German Hydrogen Strategy

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Chilean National Hydrogen Strategy

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CH2ILE – The Hidden Hydrogen Champion. A Redemption Story for Chile's Economy.

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