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Engie Chile starts commercial operation of 139MW/638MWh BESS in Antofagasta

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Engie Chile's BESS Coya project in Antofagasta, Chile with a 5-hour duration
The BESS Coya project in Antofagasta is Engie’s largest BESS plant in Latin America. Image: Engie Chile.

Utility and independent power producer (IPP) Engie has started commercial operations of a 139MW/638MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) in the northern region of Antofagasta, Chile.

The BESS Coya project, which uses lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and has a 5-hour duration, has been paired with the 180MW solar PV plant of the same name. China-based solar PV inverter and energy storage system manufacturer Sungrow provided the equipment for the BESS Coya project. It is made up of 232 containers.

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This is Engie Chile’s largest BESS project in the country, and the company is currently building two other BESS projects in Chile that will be co-located with solar PV plants. Last month the utility started construction of a 5-hour duration battery storage system with a power output of 48MW and a capacity of 264MWh to be paired with an 88MW plant in Antofagasta.

Also in Antofagasta, the company is adding a 68MW/418MWh BESS to the nearby Tamaya solar project, pictured above, with Sungrow as the provider for the batteries.

“The lack of optimisation from renewables generated in the north of Chile has always been one of our concerns. For this reason, we decided to include a storage system during the development of the Coya solar PV plant, with the goal to inject energy to the system during night, when it is most needed,” said Rosaline Corinthien, CEO at Engie Chile.

Most large solar PV projects in Chile are adding energy storage to mitigate the huge levels of curtailment seen in the last few years, while standalone energy storage projects are being deployed to capitalise on capacity market and broader energy trading opportunities (made possible by a new bill passed in late 2022).

Furthermore, earlier this year the Chilean government formed an entity to keep a majority stake in domestic lithium production with one of the two private companies that mine it, while also setting aside land for 13GWh of downstream energy storage projects.

Returning for the third edition in Santiago, Chile, the Energy Storage Summit Latin America will explore opportunities in countries such as Chile, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Join Solar Media on October 15-16 to meet with investors, policy makers, developers, utilities, network operators, technology providers, EPCs, consultants, law firms and more to make sure you are a part of the rapidly evolving storage landscape in Latin America. More information, including how to attend, can be read here.

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