While struggling to increase the generation and consumption of renewable energy, Latin America is beginning to see the rise of new technologies, such as the capture and storage of carbon and hydrogen from fossil fuels or wind and solar energy.
Ermelinda Lobos's life has improved substantially since she and the rest of the people in her small village, hidden in the mountains of northeastern El Salvador, worked hard to build a mini hydroelectric plant and become self-sufficient in energy.
A Mexican solar energy cooperative, Onergia, seeks to promote decent employment, apply technological knowledge and promote alternatives that are less polluting than fossil fuels, in one of the alternative initiatives with which Mexico is seeking to move towards an energy transition.
After centuries of poverty, marginalisation from national development policies and a lack of support for positive local practices and projects, the semiarid regions of Latin America are preparing to forge their own agricultural paths by sharing knowledge, in a new and unprecedented initiative.
Mayan anthropologist Ezer May fears that the tourism development and real estate construction boom that will be unleashed by the Mayan Train, the main infrastructure project of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will disrupt his community.
Solar energy has continued to expand in Brazil during the COVID-19 pandemic and should contribute to the economic recovery in the wake of the health crisis.
"The harvested water has helped us at critical times and the fog nets have also brought us visibility. Today we produce beer here and many tourists come," says Daniel Rojas, president of the Peña Blanca Agricultural Community in Chile.
In the 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR, the idea that water would drive the wars of the future took hold among analysts and the media. Three decades later and that grim prospect has, fortunately, not yet materialised, and international cooperation, despite its ups and downs
, is the norm in the management of transboundary waters.
Electric transport, still limited in Latin America despite its urban benefits, could expand during the post-pandemic economic recovery, says Adalberto Maluf, president of the Brazilian Association of Electric Vehicles (ABVE).
A communally built small dam at almost 3,500 meters above sea level supplies water to small-scale farmer Cristina Azpur and her two young daughters in Peru's Andes highlands, where they face water shortages exacerbated by climate change.
Aïssata Ba, 45-year-old widow and mother of seven children, has been practising market gardening for the past 30 years in Lompoul Sur Mer village in the Niayes area of north-west Senegal. For many women in the village, endowed with fertile soil and favourable climate, it is the primary source of income throughout the year.
Rice farmers in the Argentine province of Entre Rios often look like mechanics. "They're always full of grease, because they haul diesel fuel around all the time, for their water pumps," says local farmer Arturo Deymonnaz. He, however, doesn't have that problem, because he uses solar energy to grow his rice.
While it attempts to cushion the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Latin American and Caribbean region also faces concerns about the future of the energy transition and state-owned oil companies.
Since 2012, Teresa Castellanos has fought the construction of a gas-fired power plant in Huexca, in the central Mexican state of Morelos, adjacent to the country's capital.
The oil slump, global recession and uncertainty about the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic will fuel the appetite for cheaper fossil fuel energy and delay investments in renewables, affecting the targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Rosa Manzano carefully arranges pieces of wood in a big mud igloo that, seven days after it is full, will produce charcoal of high caloric content.
Water security and profitability are the Achilles heels of the plan to modernise 60 hydroelectric plants in Mexico, drawn up by the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
"The idea came to a group of schoolmates and me in 2014, but we never thought it could become a reality," says Sebastián Ieraci, 23, as he points to a multitude of photovoltaic solar panels shining on the roof of the Antonio Devoto High School in the Argentine capital.
"It used to be complicated, I would have lunch with the flies," recalls Pedro Colombari, laughing, on his 400-hectare farm where he fattens 5,000 pigs and raises 400 cattle outside of a small town in southern Brazil.
Fomenting biogas production among agricultural producers may seem at first glance to be a distraction from the purpose of Itaipu, the giant hydroelectric power plant shared by Brazil and Paraguay, but in fact it is part of their energy business strategy.
The intense white brightness of the salt flats interrupts the arid monotony of the Puna in northwest Argentina, resembling postcards from the moon. Beneath its surface are concealed the world's largest reserves of lithium, the key mineral in the transition to clean energy, the mining of which has triggered controversy.