This line of research studies energy consumption patterns throughout the country, with special emphasis on the residential sector, and includes an analysis of the factors that determine such consumption.
In Chile, the commercial, public, sanitary, and residential sector (CPSR, by its Spanish acronym) accounts for 23% of the country’s total energy consumption. Within this sector, the residential one accounts for 69% of the energy demand (Figure 1).
Within the residential energy demand, one of the highest level of consumption corresponds to heating needs, and firewood and liquified petroleum gas are the main fuels used (Figure 2).
Firewood consumption is a multifactorial phenomenon; however, it is possible to see that it increases significantly in central-southern regions of Chile. This is explained by the cold and rainy climate that occurs there most of the year, and by the large amount of forests biomass, which makes firewood and its derivates a low-cost option compared to other heating fuels (liquefied gas, kerosene, electricity, etc.). Indeed, firewood consumption in Central Chile corresponds to an average of 1 m 3 /house/year (Metropolitan Region and Valparaiso Region) while firewood consumption in Patagonia (Aysén Region) reaches 18 m 3 /house/year (Reyes, 2013).
Additionally, the Chilean case is even more interesting. Even if the country has the highest GDP per capita in South America and the highest Human Development Index in Latin America (World Bank, 2020), it bases its energy consumption on firewood —which is considers a primitive fuel belonging to the early stages of the energy transition process. This consumption pattern not only makes Chile far away from the reality of neighboring countries, but also makes it significantly deviate from the global norm.
In this context, this line of research aims to study the different residential consumption profiles throughout the country, analyzing factors that contribute to practices and behaviors of fuelwood consumption.
Corporación de Desarrollo Tecnológico. 2018. Informe final de usos de la energía de los hogares de Chile 2018. Disponible en: https://www.energia.gob.cl/sites/default/files/documentos/informe_final_caracterizacion_residencial_2018.pdf
Reyes, Rene. 2013. Consumo de combustibles derivados de la madera en Chile. Leña: energía renovable para la conservación de los bosques nativos de Chile.
Banco Mundial. 2020. PIB per capita a Paridad del Poder de Compra para países de Sudamérica. Disponible en: https://datos.bancomundial.org/indicador/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?locations=CL-AR-BO-BR-CO-EC-UY-PY-PE-VE&name_desc=false