Chile-based renewable energy company Valhalla is planning the impossible: constructing a hydroelectric power plant in the middle of the world’s most arid desert. Situated along the Pacific Ocean, west of the Andes mountain range, the Atacama Desert will provide this South American nation, whose net energy largely comes from fossil fuels, with an innovative new way of generating green energy.
The problem with most renewables, like solar and wind power, is inconsistency. According to the developers, the Atacama Desert’s unique location, between mountains and the sea, makes it the ideal choice for a $400 million hydroelectric plant. The project centers around the use of solar energy to pump water from the neighboring Pacific Ocean into two huge reservoirs, built high up in the Andes mountains. The stored water will then be allowed to fall into a 300 MW power plant, thereby producing enough energy for up to three provinces in Chile. Speaking about project, Francisco Torrealba, the stratego manager, said:
This is the only place in the world where a project of this kind can be developed. The technology has been super well tested around the world. It’s this particular combination that has never been tried.
Each of the reservoirs will hold the same amount of water as nearly 22,000 Olympic swimming pools, which means that the plant will be able to produce electricity around the clock. The company has already received the approval of the Chilean environmental authorities, and is currently looking for investors. If everything goes according to plan, construction work will start next year, and will likely continue for three and a half years.
Valhalla is also searching for three other locations, with similar characteristics, for another hydroelectric power plant. To know more about the company, head over to its official website.