SIC installed capacity
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The Central Interconnected System (SIC) has a total installed capacity of MW (gross). Following is a complete list of plants in operation in the SIC:
Source: Own elaboration based on information collected from CDEC SIC (system operator) and company reports. Source applies to all charts in this page.
The SIC accounts for roughly three quarters of the total Chilean power capacity and serves more than 90% of the population. In the past hydroelectric power plants were widely predominant, but as of mid-90’s, thermoelectric power plants began dominating power plant investment, now representing a major fraction of the installed capacity.
A great deal of generation companies participate in the SIC market, but it is still a highly concentrated market. Endesa is by far the most relevant player. It had a monopoly of the power sector when it was a state owned company, up to 1982. The other relevant players are Colbún and AES Gener, a subsidiary of AES Corporation.
*Note: The graph consolidates the installed capacity at parent company level, including subsidiaries. Endesa includes Pehuenche, San Isidro, Endesa Eco and Central Eólica Canela. Colbún includes E.E. Industrial, Hidroeléctrica Guardia Vieja, Hidroeléctrica Industrial, Antilhue, Obras y Desarrollo and Río Tranquilo. AES Gener includes Sociedad Eléctrica Santiago, E.E. Ventanas and Energía Verde. In addition, AES Gener holds a 50% stake in Guacolda, but does not consolidate Guacolda in its income statement.
The SIC, unlike the other electrical systems, covers a significant area of Chile, ranging from the Antofagasta Region to the Los Lagos Lakes Region, comprising in total eleven regions.
The development of the SIC can be divided in two stages. Initially, hydroelectric power was favored, which by 1990 amounted to about 80% of the installed capacity. Since, only three major hydroelectric projects have been constructed – Pehuenche, Pangue and Ralco – while the thermoelectric units have become very relevant. During the 90′s, the availability of competitively priced natural gas from Argentina allowed for numerous combined cycle units to be built, which represent an important part of the installed capacity. However, the net generation of these plants is modest due to the high cost of the imported LNG that replaces Argentinean natural gas, as its availability is now restricted. As a result, coal-fired power plants have become the technology of choice in the SIC, dominating capacity addition in the last years.
*Note: The 1990 installed capacity corresponds to the accumulated capacity installed up to that year.