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Generation expansion planning plays a key role in the development of a power system. This paper contributes by developing a heuristic based on the results of a simulation model of the Central Interconnected System (SIC), which iteratively optimizes the number of expansion units necessary to accomplish certain assumptions and restrictions that a competitive market must meet in the long term. The first approach is from the theoretical perspective, through a review of the available literature on the subject, and the analysis of the historical development that the generation segment has at SIC, from the private and regulator perspectives. Additionally, a discussion of concepts related to the structure and assumptions that must be met in a competitive market is achieved, allowing the definition of the rules that must be followed by the heuristic. The heuristic uses a model developed by Endesa Chile, called MHT, which simulates the economic dispatch of a hidro-thermal system. The disadvantage of MHT is the massive use of computer resources, employing extensive time to run. Therefore, a number of simplifications on the input data are proposed, to reduce the simulation time; however, they produce significant distortion on the results. The heuristic is applied to a significant number of cases with different initial conditions, demonstrating a satisfactory performance under all the scenarios, which is verified by the fact that investment in new generation capacity reaches the expected levels.