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Chile aims to become major hydrogen producer by 2030

Highlights

Country setting a goal of 5 GW of electrolysis capacity by 2025

Chile to provide $50 million to develop green hydrogen projects

Santiago — The Chilean government has set itself ambitious targets to become one of the world's leading exporters of green hydrogen by the end of the decade, taking advantage of the country's huge renewable potential, the country's President Sebastian Pinera said Nov. 3.

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Inaugurating the virtual Green Hydrogen Summit, the president said record levels of radiation mean that Chile could be the world's most efficient producer of green hydrogen, more than compensating for the country's distance from major markets.

Unveiling the government's national hydrogen strategy, Energy Minister Juan Carlos Jobet explained that to achieve that goal, the government aims to see 5 GW of electrolysis capacity built or in development by 2025 and to reach 25 GW by the end of the decade by which date exports of green hydrogen and derivatives could reach $2.5 billion annually.

Speaking on a panel with counterparts from Canada, the European Union, Germany, and the UK, the minister highlighted the need for cooperation between countries for Chile to realize its goals.

"We need off-takers, we need technology, and we need companies to come down and invest," Jobet explained.

To attract investors, the government is planning a financing round to provide $50 million to help Chilean and international companies and consortia develop "scalable and replicable" green hydrogen projects in Chile, helping investors to close gaps in their financing models.

Economic development agency CORFO in October launched a request for information for green hydrogen projects which could lead to a request for proposals next year.

The government also aims to set up three international consortia of companies to develop at least 1 GW of electrolysis capacity each. The aim is to have to at least two hydrogen complexes producing 200,000 mt/year of green hydrogen in operation by 2025.

Italian energy firm ENEL has announced plans for a pilot plant to produce green hydrogen using wind farms in Chilean Patagonia by 2023.

In addition, the government is also working to update regulations and safety rules to facilitate the development of hydrogen projects and revise infrastructure and regulations to promote the introduction of green hydrogen into the existing natural gas system.

A public-private committee will be created to debate a roadmap to establish a carbon price to "level the conditions under which new energy sources will compete with traditional fuels."

Other strands to the plan include investment in local research and development to overcome local challenges to development, involving local communities and regions in the development of the technology in Chile, and creating a working group to push state companies such as copper miner Codelco and oil firm ENAP to adopt green hydrogen with their suppliers.