If a category called “Chilean Lunacy” existed, I would post there, quite often, and the following would fit there.
The Chilean government is considering a project to export solar energy to Asia via a transpacific power cable. The idea is that it will supplement Asian nighttime energy demand while sun is shining in the western hemisphere.
As an exercise, open up Google Earth, and rotate the globe so that northern Chile is on the RHS of the screen. What do you see? Nothing except thousands of kilometres of ocean. The only land just barely visible is New Zealand, 12,000 km away.
Now consider that the world’s longest subsea power cable, still under construction, is the 760Km Viking Link, joining Norway and the UK, laid in the relatively shallow North Sea, at a cost of 2 Billion Euros.
So Chile is contemplating a hugely expensive power project with a cable 20 times the length of the longest one in use anywhere, laid in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. What could go wrong?
I detect heavy lobbying by Chinese interests, who would love to cover the whole of the Atacama Desert with panels. This sort of craziness occurs when a country is run by amateurs, lawyers and politicians whose grandiose ideas are only matched by the depths of their ignorance. Not that Europe or the US is any better…
A typical example of Chilean technical illiteracy are the figures cited in that article:
"para que Chile exporte entre 200 mil y 600 mil MW"
Huh? that’s more than three times the daily consumption of France, which uses around 30 nuclear power stations to meet that demand. Hence the comment about covering the entire Atacama desert.
Chile would do much better to spend the money revamping its own crappy energy infrastructure. But maybe that idea is too prosaic to get the media attention that this proposal was designed to attract.
On a slightly technical note, the cable would require massive conductors, and would need to run at an abnormally high voltage to minimize power losses (in the MegaVolt range!) And withstand ocean pressures of 3000psi or more. Easy peasy?, no not really.