Northern Chilean landscape, Atacama Desert, Chile, 20 July 2017, #24729

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Atacama: Renewable Energy and Mining in the High Desert of Chile

Jamey Stillings | Chile

This series examines the evolving nexus between renewable energy development and mining in Chile's Atacama Desert. It is a chapter of my long-term project,Changing Perspectives. I created this body of work in 2017 and 2022.

Chile is the world's leading copper exporter and the second-largest lithium producer. The diverse geography and geology of the Atacama Desert give it a unique set of attributes, offering excellent solar and wind potential. Since 2017, when I first photographed over the Atacama, the country has tripled its renewable energy capacity. New solar, wind, and storage projects supply electricity to the grid, transmit power to population centers in the South, provide electricity and solar thermal energy to mines, and reduce mining's dependence on fossil fuels. Chile's renewable energy development is now an example for other countries and mining operations worldwide, offering hope and inspiration. Thus, a growing dynamic between the extractive mining industry and the rapidly developing renewable energy sector makes the Atacama a compelling subject.

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