By: Maria Gotti | Sustainability Projects and Practice Sharing Analyst at Enel | April 27th, 2016

Enel considers innovation to be at the core of sustainability and most of all of the integration of the Creating Shared Value model within the business decision making process. This is in fact evident in one of Enel Green Power’s first attempts of applying the new model in Chile.

The desert of Atacama is home to many small communities which are often not connected to the power grid, hence have no access to electricity. Among them is the community of Ollagüe that is located on the border between Chile and Bolivia, 3,500 meters above sea level in the desert, 160 km from Calama, with no access to electricity. This area is inhabited by the Quechua indigenous community, whose main activity is sheep farming. Since in Northern Chile there is an outstanding amount of solar radiation which is among the world’s highest, Enel decided to build a solar, wind and geothermal power hub in Ollagüe, transforming the Chilean land into a clean energy district.

The business project involved the installation of an innovative Offgrid Hybrid System made of solar panels (250 kW), wind power (30 kW) with batteries, diesel backup and electricity/water cogeneration system in order to potentially replicate them in other contexts of rural electrification. This allows the community to have clean energy for the whole day. Due to geo-climatic specific conditions, innovative technological choices have been adopted, such as the use of wind turbines with vertical blades and batteries in molten salts, in order to guarantee operation in contexts of high irradiation and rarefied air.

Thanks to the application of the Creating Shared Value model the sustainable challenge of rendering the plant managed and maintained locally was detected. As a result two partnerships have been signed: with the University of Antofagasta and Chile and with the Barefoot College, an international NGO based in India that trains women to become solar engineers.

This management model makes the community responsible of the plant rendering Ollagüe an example of a smart village. In fact the Chilean International Renewable Energy Congress has awarded the Ollagüe project with the “Innovation” and “Renewable Project of the Year” prizes for 2015.

VALUE FOR BUSINESS

This is an example of testing and applying innovative offgrid hybrid system both in terms of technology and multi-stakeholder management, thus Create Shared Value in contexts where indigenous communities are legally protected.

VALUE FOR THE STAKEHOLDERS

Thanks to the new offgrid hybrid system the community has constant access to electricity and hot water  while before it was available only 2 hours a day. Women empowerment and development of local entrepreneurship through the engagement of the women in the Barefoot College program. Creation of new job opportunities in the renewable energy and tourism sectors. 

Link to Video: https://www.enel.com/en-gb/Pages/article/ollague.aspx 

Project Fact Sheet - Ollague.pdf

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