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Feasility analysis of solar and wind energy projects along the central interconnected system (CIS), Chile

Rosas, Alexeis (2017) Feasility analysis of solar and wind energy projects along the central interconnected system (CIS), Chile. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Embargoed until November 2018.

Abstract

This assessment aims to estimate the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and the internal rate of return (IRR) of utility-scale solar and wind energy projects to identify which are the most profitable regions for each type of project in the Central Interconnected System (CIS) of Chile. For this, the Solar and Eolic (Wind) Explorer online tools developed by the University of Chile were used for selecting the sites with best resource availability, while the feasibility analysis was done with RETScreen, software specialized for renewable energy projects. Two solar and two wind plants with 40 MW of capacity were evaluated for every region in the CIS, the LCOE and IRR profiles of all these projects were obtained and tested in a sensitivity analysis, comparing these results to the current average energy prices observed in the CIS market (78 USD/MWh), and a discount rate commonly used for evaluating these projects (10%) in Chile.

For the 18 solar projects evaluated, it was found that the regions with the best profitability were concentrated in the north of Chile (III and IV regions), with LCOE values that ranged from 54.0 to 59.1 USD/MWh, and between 67.1 to 73.6 USD/MWh when increasing the installed cost in 30%. Also, the IRR resulted to range between 25.4 and 30.9% in the base scenario, and from 10.3 to 13.3% with a decrease of 30% in the electricity rates in the long term.

In the case of the 18 wind projects evaluated, it was found that the far north and south (regions IV, VIII and X) had the best results, with LCOE values from 56.5 to 61.0 USD/MWh in the base scenario and between 64.7 and 67.7 USD/MWh in the risk scenario, and IRR values of 32.6 – 36.3% and 10.2 – 12.1% in their respective scenarios.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor: Pivrikas, Almantas
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/40484
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