Latin America’s strongest economy is setting the pace in sustainability through technology and science
Having garnered international acclaim and support for its prompt and efficient response to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine roll-out, Chile is now accelerating a series of comprehensive economic initiatives and developments centered on science, technology and knowledge.
Since the creation of the Ministry of Science,
Technology, Knowledge and Innovation in 2018, the government of the Andean nation has placed greater emphasis on—and allocated more funding and resources to—the expansion of emerging sectors such as technology, research and development
(R&D), renewable energy, banking and fintech. Groundbreaking initiatives and projects include the Start Up Science program to promote the creation of cutting-edge technologies, the Visa Tech program, to expedite the arrival of global technology players, and the promotion of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) study branches. “The role of the scientific community in Chile is fundamental,” states Andrés Couve, Minister of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation. “The ministry was born to articulate an ecosystem; an ecosystem of science, technology, knowledge and innovation. The idea is to generate knowledge and transfer it for the benefit of the country. Science has a very important role to play in the new constitution; humans are an integral part of nature. From this base emerges a sustainable vision that incorporates a sustainable economy and sustainable development of the country.”
With a firm commitment to boosting the share of renewable energies in the national energy mix, the government is working with national and international investors to optimize the republic’s abundant solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal resources through massive, showcase projects that will increase green energy capacity. Showcase investments in this clean energy revolution include a state-of-the-art hybrid wind-solar park in Antofagasta, geothermal-rich developments and green hydrogen plants that will provide zero-carbon energy for domestic consumption and for customers on other continents.
“Our Green Hydrogen Strategy contains very ambitious and very clear goals,” says Juan Carlos Jobet, Minister of Mines and Energy. “We want to be the cheapest green hydrogen producer in the world by 2030, and a top three exporter by 2040. Green hydrogen requires clean electricity. We have the best solar irradiance, one of the best winds, plus the institutional framework through our well developed energy sector regulation. We also have an economy very open to foreign direct investment (FDI).”
The telecommunications sector is one of Chile’s strongest and most successful. The industry is at the forefront of efforts to bridge Chile’s digital gap, which has been accentuated over 2020 during lockdowns and the expansion of remote working. The government is setting the ground to deploy its 5G infrastructure, with a recent tender for 5G spectrum bands, while the fiber optic network continues to grow and boost connectivity in remote areas.
“5G is one of the biggest investment opportunities today. We estimate the necessary total investment totals $3-4 billion in equipment, support, technological platforms, and the underwater cable to Asia,” comments Gloria Hutt Hesse, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications. “It’s clearly an extremely attractive investment opportunity.”
“The role of the scientific community in Chile is fundamental. Science has a very important role to play in the new constitution.” Andrés Couve, Minister of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation
“We want to be the cheapest green hydrogen producer in the world by 2030 and one of the top three exporters by 2040.” Juan Carlos Jobet, Minister of Mines and Energy