Latin America has lots of natural advantages for the coming energy transition. It already has the greenest power matrix in the world. While having the planet’s largest reserves of copper make it a key provider for international electrification programmes.
The situation of the energy transition in Central America and the Caribbean was the main issue debated this Friday 21st in the sessions at the XXX La Jolla Energy Conference, which is attended virtually by high officials, business delegates and analysts from the region.
Over the past decade, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) from China have carved out a niche as owners and operators of electric utilities in South American countries through acquisitions of energy grids. As SOEs shift from their previous role as mostly builders to investors in large energy assets, policymakers in South America and in Washington should consider the implications of having these companies at the helm of such services.
Yunia Cancio cooked with firewood until a few years ago, when a biodigester was built on her family’s El Renacer farm in Cabaiguán, a municipality in the central Cuban province of Sancti Spíritus, under the Biomass Cuba project. That change meant a lot for her family’s quality of life, but it was not the only one.
The gas producing countries of South America are debating on how to make better use of the resource and how to integrate the sector, amid geographical and infrastructural barriers.
"Until five years ago, we didn't know about the circular economy, but today our waste generates environmentally neutral products that also offer a return,” says José Luis Barrinat, manager of a cooperative that brings together some 550 small farmers in Monje, Argentina.
Several Latin American countries are stepping up the pace to generate hydrogen for various uses in transportation and industry, but they must first resolve several questions.
"Rainfall is fundamental; the streams and rivers we have would not suffice for irrigation, even if they were the Amazon River," said Dirceu Dezem, referring to the amount of water required for the extensive crops in Brazil’s midwest.
Standing on Punta Ventanilla, Carlos Vegas, 65, looks across at the industrial park which has been there most of his life. He looks at the impact of the 15 industries spread around the bay that connects the towns of Quintero and Puchuncaví, in central Chile.
A score of coastal communities in El Salvador are staking their bets on sustainable development as a form of life that does not overexploit natural resources diminished by years of government neglect and a lack of environmental awareness, using instruments ranging from ecological cookstoves to mangrove reforestation.
"Biogas is worth gold to us, we can no longer live without it," Claudete Volkswey, a poultry farmer in the municipality of Toledo, in the southwestern state of Paraná, Brazil, said enthusiastically about the new source of energy that has allowed her to get a good night’s sleep again, because she no longer has to get up to stoke the fire every two hours.
As the world looks to address issues of gender equity, development and climate change, the importance of increasing the participation of women in the energy sector is gaining attention. To date, this topic has generally been framed around the underrepresentation of women in the energy workforce.
Residents of Ngadirejo village in Sukaharjo regency, Central Java province, had often found themselves helpless when their wells dried up or water flooded through their homes. But thanks to a national campaign called Program Kampung Iklim
, known by its acronym ProKlim
, they now have solutions to this flooding that generally occurs because of a lack of adequate water catchments.
In neighbourhoods like Tehuixtitla in southern Mexico City, rain brings joy, because it provides water for showering, washing dishes and clothes, and cooking, by means of rainwater harvesting systems (RHS).
As the sun sets over the canopy of Albizia amara trees, a thin blanket of fog begins to descend over the forests of the Malai Mahadeshwara Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, which lies roughly 150 km south of the Indian city of Bangalore.
Not so long ago, plumes of smoke would rise from the hamlets dotting the forests as women busily cooked dinner for their families over wood stoves. But tonight, dinner will be a smokeless affair in dozens of villages as communities have opted for the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a clean burning fuel that has given a boost to the health and safety of both the forest and its people thanks to a unique conservation project.
Salvadoran villager Maria Luz Rodriguez placed the cheese on top of the lasagna she was cooking outdoors, put the pan in her solar oven and glanced at the midday sun to be sure there was enough energy for cooking.
Indigenous farmers on communally owned lands have blocked since 2016 a private solar farm in the southeastern Mexican state of Yucatan by means of legal action, due to the company’s failure to hold consultations with local native communities and the risk of environmental damage.
Thousands of families in the Venezuelan capital have dipped into their savings or gone into debt, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in this country since the 19th century, so that their building has access to a well that will supply the water that has stopped running from the faucet.
Crises, as the one we saw across the US and Mexico last week originated by Winter Storm Uri, provide ample material for reflection. This is particularly clear from a distant viewpoint and when benefitting from the fact of not being directly affected, as strong emotions and reactions that often bias our judgements are absent.