As Chile Votes for President, Diversification Key to Addressing Energy Crunch

As Chile Votes for President, Diversification Key to Addressing Energy Crunch

Heading into Sunday’s second-round presidential vote in Chile, there is one word that best sums up the energy policy debate in the Andean nation: diversification. That is, much like an individual pursuing a personal investment strategy, Chile is seeking an energy policy that brings increased diversity to its matrix.

More specifically, security, efficiency and sustainability are the clear-cut issues facing policymakers and energy sector participants alike; Chile currently imports 97 percent of its fossil fuels and depends on hydropower for 42 percent of its electricity generation.

In a twist to Sunday’s voting, President Sebastian Pinera’s successor is likely to be his predecessor, Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s first female president, who served from 2006 to 2010. Bachelet, a socialist representing the New Majority coalition, won almost 47 percent of the first-round vote on Nov. 17, a share far exceeding that won by her nearest opponent—Evelyn Matthei, of the Alianza pact, at 25 percent—but not large enough to avoid a second round on Dec. 15. Bachelet will likely prevail in Sunday’s vote.

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