Enel through Enel Green Power Chile (EGPC) currently operates in Chile renewable plants with a combined installed capacity of more than 1.1 GW, of which 564 MW come from wind energy, 492 MW from solar PV, and 92 MW from hydropower, which makes Enel the largest player in renewable energy in the country.
In addition, EGPC has just started producing energy from the 48 MW Cerro Pabellón facility, which is the first geothermal plant in South America and the first high enthalpy, utility-scale geothermal plant in the world to be built at such a high altitude (4,500 metres above sea level).
In order to meet part of the energy needs of the camp that hosts over 600 technicians working at the company’s geothermal plant Cerro Pabellón, (Antofagasta region – Chile), Enel put in operation the world’s first 100% emission-free “plug-and-play” commercial-sized micro-grid powered by solar PV as well as hydrogen-based and lithium-based storage. The micro-grid relies on a Hybrid Energy Storage System (HyESS) which comprises a 125 kWp solar PV installation backed by a 450kWh hydrogen storage system and a 132kWh lithium storage system. The combination of the solar PV plant with the overall storage facility, whose capacity exceeds 580 kWh, turns intermittent solar power into a steady energy source, thus boosting the micro-grid’s flexibility and stability. On top of that, an innovative micro-grid controller optimizes the electricity flows produced by the PV modules making sure that such flows are efficiently shared between the two storage systems in order to guarantee continuous availability of the power supply.
Because of its innovative features, the micro-grid is capable of supplying green energy 24 hours a day with no need for support of any diesel generator as part of its normal operation, unlike most plants of this type.
The facility can work both on-grid and off-grid: it can be connected to a grid, as it is now, supporting the network delivering electricity to the Cerro Pabellón camp, or operate autonomously. In addition, it offers a “plug-and-play” solution as its components can be easily removed, re-assembled and installed in a new location, which is particularly helpful in remote, poorly electrified areas.