Colbún, Chile's third-largest power generation company and a prominent hydropower operator, has entered into a partnership with RheEnergise, a UK-based clean technology firm, to investigate the viability of deploying RheEnergise's innovative long-duration hydro-energy storage solution, High-Density Hydro® (HD Hydro), in Chile. The agreement marks RheEnergise’s first entry into South America’s energy market.
Colbún and RheEnergise will jointly assess the feasibility of constructing a 10MW, 10-hour HD Hydro system in Chile. This initiative is seen as a valuable addition to Colbún's diverse portfolio of hydro, wind, and solar projects, offering a novel technology to address the intermittency challenges associated with renewable energy sources. RheEnergise will conduct thorough investigations and technical studies to identify potential sites for its HD Hydro system, while Colbún will contribute local market expertise, guidance on planning and permitting, and insights into utility connections.
Pending the outcomes of these endeavors, slated to unfold over the next 12 months, the collaborative effort aims to have its first 10MW scheme operational by 2030.
RheEnergise's HD Hydro storage system is lauded for its cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency, and rapid development capabilities. Distinguishing itself from conventional hydro-power systems, HD Hydro utilizes an environmentally benign fluid, 2½ times denser than water, providing 2½ times the power. This innovation enables deployment beneath hills rather than mountains, unlocking vast opportunities in global markets, said the company.
Diego García, Colbún's Innovation Manager, emphasized the pivotal role of innovation in navigating the energy transition: “Technological advances in solar and wind power makes them the leading sources of green energy in many parts of the world. Now, we need new storage solutions to cope with the intermittency of renewable energy, and the technology that RheEnergise is developing could have a key role in this regard.”.
Stephen Crosher, RheEnergise's Chief Executive, expressed delight in Colbún's selection of RheEnergise as a partner, underscoring the value that HD Hydro brings to existing renewables assets and its role in supporting Colbún's growth aspirations. “Our HD Hydro technology can provide Colbún with medium and long duration energy storage, can quickly and easily be constructed and can help Colbún achieve its Net Zero and sustainability goals,” he said
“Chile is a very attractive market for RheEnergise’s HD Hydro,” added Sophie Orme, Commercial Director at RheEnergise. “The Chilean Government is leading the way in Latin America, having dedicated US$2 billion for energy storage auctions from 2024, and set a renewables target of 70% by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2050. We are delighted to partner with Colbún, drawing on their first-hand experience of the market, in particular hydro and solar and to help them achieve their plan to add 4GW of renewable assets by 2030.”