One of the sunniest places on earth, Chile’s Atacama Desert, has the highest solar irradiance in the world — and the potential to generate enough electricity to power all of South America. But the desert, which covers over 100,000 square kilometers (about 38,000 square miles), is in Chile’s remote north, far from major cities. In November, the country finally completed transmission lines connecting its huge solar power plants in the northern desert to the densely populated south, allowing lower prices and more reliable energy supplies. If Chile would connect those solar projects to Peru’s power grid, and Peru extended it to Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador, millions of people throughout South America could benefit from this clean energy source. Mexico, Brazil and Chile in particular have huge potential to increase solar and wind power. Solar power already represents more than half of Chile’s total installed capacity, and Brazil is home to almost 60 percent of wind capacity in the region.
New York Times 1st Feb 2018 read more »