Oil Report

Enel to invest $240 mln in Chile geothermal power

SANTIAGO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Italy's biggest utility, Enel ENEI.MI said on Thursday it plans to invest $240 million over the next four years to develop geothermal power in energy-starved Chile.

Enel’s Chairman Piero Gnudi said Chile has great potential to develop renewable energy with large water reserves and strong solar radiation. Chile relies heavily on hydroelectric power.

“We foresee an investment of $240 million over four years,” Gnudi said via an interpreter during a forum of Italian and Chilean businessmen in the capital Santiago.

Geothermal energy is power extracted from heat stored in the earth’s crust.

For years, Chile has struggled to increase its energy generation capacity as its enormous mining industry demands more power. The South American country has tried to increase the generation of renewable energy such as wind and solar power.

Enel owns Chile-based electricity generator Endesa END.SN and regional energy group Enersis ENE.SNENI.N. (Reporting by Alonso Soto; Editing by Marguerita Choy)