The Interconnection project considers a 500KV double circuit transmission line with an approximate extension of 600 kilometers from Mejillones, in the Antofagasta Region, to the area of Cardones in Copiapó, in the Atacama Region. It will allow the energy transfer between the Sistema Interconectado del Norte Grande (SING) and the Sistema Interconectado Central (SIC).
The project considers the installation of an approximate total of 1,355 towers and the construction of 2 thermal substations in the communities of Mejillones and Copiapó; a transformation substation in Mejillones (Changos area) and a compensation substation in Diego de Almagro.
The TEN line was declared under construction in January 2014 with the issue of the purchasing orders for equipment and the detailed engineering. Civil works began in February 2015 in Mejillones, and in May 2015 in Diego de Almagro.
Start up is estimated for the second semester of 2017.
TEN line as trunk line
Regarding TEN´s line as trunk line, the Energy Ministry defined that Transmisora Eléctrica del Norte´s (TEN´s) line was the best alternative to become a trunk line and become part of the connection of the Sistemas Interconectados del Norte Grande (SING) and Central (SIC) presenting a clear advantage in terms of availability schedule - this was defined in January 2015 after revising various different local and international studies.
The Benefits of the Interconnection
Among the benefits which the TEN line will mean for the country, is the creation of a unique electricity market with a greater number of suppliers which will propitiate higher competition, improving supply and reducing energy prices.
It will also allow the use of available energy which is not being utilized today (idle capacity), which contributes to the efficient use of the existing infrastructure and will not require additional investment.
It will enable the diversification of an energy matrix, as it will facilitate the introduction of a higher number of Renewable Energy projects in the North of Chile, such as solar generation, wind potential and a future geothermal development.
The project currently counts with more than five thousand workers.