Big changes are taking place in Chile when it comes to energy, with a strong push for renewable energy in recent years. And there’s more to come, according to the country’s president, Sebastián Piñera.

In this edition of the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast, I sit down with Susana Jiménez, Chile’s energy minister, who’s overseeing her government’s plan to change significantly the way the nation produces and uses energy. In the process, she aims to make her nation a model for not only South America but also the world.

The fifth largest consumer of energy in South America, Chile is only a minor producer of fossil fuels and therefore has relied heavily on energy imports

That’s changing, however, as Chile looks increasingly to solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy. In fact, renewable energy now accounts for about 18% of the nation’s electric power capacity, up from 5% just five years ago.

Minister Jiménez and Bill talked about this during her visit to the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University in New York as well as her government’s plans to step up its transformation to cleaner forms of energy, all of which will require even more investment by the private sector and innovations in government regulation.

They also discussed Chile’s commitments to address climate change by reducing the carbon intensity of its economy. A good sign of that vow is her government’s agreement to host the next round of U.N. climate talks in December after Brazil reversed its plans to host the meeting.

Have a listen here and let me know what you think.