Chacayes Hydroelectric is a 111 MW power plant located in the Cachapoal Valley, Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins Region, Chile. Chacayes generates energy using the waters of the Cachapoal and Cipreses rivers, reducing the need to burn fossil fuels to generate power.
Operating since 2011, it has been playing an important role in helping to meet the country’s increasing demand for electricity, reducing CO2 emissions and contributing to its economic growth and to the sustainable development of the local communities.
Impact and benefits
The Pacific Hydro´s corporate community plan, engages with localities during the construction and operation of hydro power stations in the region. Local communities also benefit from the sustainable communities fund “Creciendo Juntos” (Growing Together), which aims to improve the quality of life of the population. Since its creation, Creciendo Juntos has delivered more than 1 million dollars to the communities of the Alto Cachapoal Valley.
During its construction and operation, a continuous monitoring of the native fauna has been carried out, and a management plan has been implemented for the community in order to anticipate, avoid and mitigate social impacts, in addition to responding to the concerns of the neighbors, both in rural and urban areas.
The main benefits of this project are:
- Preserving natural resources.
- Promoting renewable energy generation.
- Reducing dependency on non-renewable resources.
- Helping spread green technology.
- Improving health.
An innovative solution
Due to the wide variety of measures undertaken and the innovative environmental initiatives implemented during the construction of the Chacayes plant to minimize environmental impacts (for the construction of its tunnels, techniques with minimal environmental impact were used, and an important part of its works were carried out underground so as not to intervene or affect the environment), Chacayes received, among others, the “Hydro Project of the Year Award” by the organizers of the POWER-GEN International and Renewable Energy World North America events, and the “Environmental Initiative of the Year” Award at the International Tunnelling Awards 2011 in Hong Kong, hosted by the UK’s New Civil Engineer and Ground Engineering magazines.