Renewables that challenge Mars

Monday, 31 October 2016

“The horizon is boundless and the landscape almost unreal, so dry that space agencies use it to test their missions on Mars. ”

Future in the desert

Up to a short while ago, the Ollagüe community depended on a diesel generator, the only device that granted the village an unstable and partial access to light and electricity.

In this remote area of Chile’s desert, we launched an unprecedented project combining innovation, sustainability, clean energy and involvement of the local population, which can finally count on stable access to electricity.  

“The project meets 85% of the community’s electricity needs, saving each year the consumption of 6,000 litres of fuel to feed the old diesel generator. ”

The solution conceived by Enel Green Power combines three different renewable technologies. The solar PV field, the wind farm and the solar co-generation facility - integrated into an electricity storage system - are connected to a stand-alone micro-grid, fully independent from the power lines that have never reached this high-altitude corner of the world.

Life-changing innovation

Today Ollagüe has round-the-clock energy:  hot water is always available, the grocery store can keep food in the fridge and school students can learn how to use the new digital technologies.

“The village people can now perform activities and actions that only stable access to electricity can enable. ”

Besides the plant, we launched a social training programme aimed to teach community members to maintain the solar panels, in order to achieve full independence for their energy needs.

After having been isolated for many years, the small village of Ollagüe has become the symbol of a new future, now accessible also to communities living in the most remote areas of the world.