Chile has become a model country for its advances in non-conventional energy, and is now debating whether citizens who individually or as a group generate electricity can profit from the sale of the surplus from their self-consumption - a factor that will be decisive when it comes to encouraging their contribution to the energy supply.
“It made me angry that a company from outside the region was making money from renewable energy and I wondered why people weren't getting involved," says Petra Gruner-Bauer, president of the German co-operative SolixEnergie.
The small pulp mill that uses native fruits that were previously discarded is a synthesis of the multiple objectives of the Adapta Sertão project, a programme created to build resilience to climate change in Brazil's most vulnerable region.
Cattle ranching has been severely affected by drought in Brazi's Northeast region, but it has not only survived but has made a comeback in the Jacuípe river basin thanks to an optimal use of water.
An energy transition is spreading around the globe. But in Brazil it will be characterised by sharp contrasts, with large hydroelectric plants being replaced by solar microgenerators and government decisions being replaced by family and community decision-making.
Latin America is facing challenges in energy efficiency, transportation and power generation to move towards a low carbon economy and thus accelerate that transition, which is essential to cut emissions in order to reduce global warming before it reaches a critical level.
Visionaries imagined it more than 80 years ago, as a way to strengthen the integration between Argentina and Chile. Today it is considered a regional need to boost trade flows between the two oceans. Work on a binational tunnel, a giant engineering project in the Andes, is about to begin.
Indigenous communities in Latin America, who have suffered the plunder of their natural resources since colonial times, are reliving that phenomenon again as mega infrastructure are jeopardising their habitat and their very survival.
The Argentine population can now generate their own energy through clean and unconventional sources and incorporate surpluses into the public grid, thanks to a new law. This is an important novelty in a country embarked on a slow and difficult process, with a still uncertain end, to replace fossil fuels.
The railroad can contribute to the economy, making transportation cheaper, but it is unlikely to foment equitable development in and of itself, apart from facing complex construction obstacles in countries like Brazil.
Tocantins, the newest of Brazil’s 26 states, which was created in 1988 to seek its own paths to development in central Brazil, fell into the common plight of expanding borders, based on soy and hydroelectricity.
A 75 percent drop in electricity rates, thanks to a quadrupled clean generation capacity, is one of the legacies to be left in Chile by the administration of Michelle Bachelet, who steps down on Mar. 11.
The rails have been laid - thousands of km of rails deteriorating due to lack of use, to the despair of those who believe that a country as vast as Brazil can only be developed by means of trains.
Corruption in the Venezuelan state oil industry, denounced by the government itself, and with former ministers and senior managers behind bars, is the latest evidence that, in the country with the largest oil reserves on the planet, the industry on which the economy depends is falling apart.
Countries in Central America are working to strengthen their regional electricity infrastructure to boost their exchange of electricity generated from renewable sources, which are cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
“Maybe many of us thought that this project was a dream six years ago, but not anymore. The geography has completely changed, because of everything that has been built and the investments that have been approved," said Nathaly Suárez, director of Construction Management at the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM).
Two white elephants - a huge football stadium that draws almost no fans and an empty 16-building complex that was to be the new headquarters of the district government – reflect Brasília’s challenges as a metropolis, beyond its role as the capital of Brazil.
Despite growing global pressure to reduce the use of coal to generate electricity, several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean still have projects underway for expanding this polluting energy source.
In Laos, the lush forests are alive with the whines of drills that pierce the air. On the Mekong, a giant concrete wall rises slowly above the trees. The Don Sahong dam is a strong symbol, not only for a power-hungry Asia but also for what critics fear is a disaster in the making.
Irrigated green fields of vineyards and monoculture crops coexist in Brazil’s semiarid Northeast with dry plains dotted with flowering cacti and native crops traditionally planted by the locals. Two models of development in struggle, with very different fruits.
The burning down of the local forest, on Jun. 29, 1979, was the first step towards the creation of the city of Paranaita, in a municipality that is now trying to shed its reputation as a major deforester of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and has named itself “the energy capital.”