Latin America’s high potential and rapid spread of renewable energy, which now covers 53% of its generation capacity, has fueled hope of a global transition to a low-carbon economy. Over the next five years, renewables will remain the fastest-growing source of electricity, and solar energy may be cheaper than coal globally by 2025, or earlier.
Chile’s Atacama Desert, at the forefront of the green energy global transition, has the highest solar incidence in the world, with the potential to generate all of the country’s electricity with about 4 percent of the desert’s surface area. Following the region’s mining boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the landscape of touristic costal cities and rural towns was radically transformed by a green revolution. The Chilean government is determined to produce 70 to 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by mid-century. Solar panels are seen on almost every rooftop, square or street illumination, as public and private investments are boosting a continuos pop-up of geothermal and solar plants as big as hundreds of soccer fields all together, changing the common perception of a desert, unfriendly environment into a land of opportunity.
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