Energy

South America’s Gas Dreams

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.

Biogas in Argentina: Turning an Environmental Problem into a Solution

"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.

Latin America Bets Heavily on Hydrogen

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.

The Complex Energy Transition of Chile’s “Sacrifice Zones”

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.

Farmers in Brazil Benefit as Biogas Replaces Firewood

"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.

The Invisible Women in Energy: Biomass Producers Who Deserve More Recognition

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.

Recipes with a Taste of Sustainable Development on the Coast of El Salvador

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 Communities in Mexico Fight Energy Projects

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.

Energy Crisis: Tribal Behavior or Quality Decisions Based on Conscious Trade-Offs?

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.

A Growing Shift in the Narrative about Climate Action

A keen awareness about the intersection of our ecosystem and the “accelerating destabilisation of the climate” is helping shift the narrative for climate action and can help us transition from being polluters to becoming protectors of the climate, said Marco Lambertini, Director General at the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Sustainable Energy Key to COVID-19 Recovery in Asia and the Pacific

The past year is one that few of us will forget. While the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have played out unevenly across Asia and the Pacific, the region has been spared many of the worst effects seen in other parts of the world. The pandemic has reminded us that a reliable and uninterrupted energy supply is critical to managing this crisis.

In Argentina’s Chaco Region, the Forest Is Also a Source of Electricity

The forest is the main resource in the Chaco, a vast plain shared by Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. And how to use it sustainably is the most difficult question. Two recently inaugurated power plants fired by forest biomass provide a possible answer, although they are not free of controversy.

El Aromo Solar Project Sets Precedent for Renewable Energy in Ecuador

In December 2020, the “El Aromo” solar energy project was approved in coastal Manabí province, Ecuador. Operated by the Spanish company Solarpack, the project is expected to transform national solar output. El Aromo will occupy 2.9km2 of land that was previously cleared to build a multi-billion dollar oil refinery, plans that have since been abandoned.  While El Aromo holds symbolic significance, it remains uncertain whether the project will mark a significant step toward more environmentally sustainable energy development in Ecuador.

Belo Monte Dam: Electricity or Life in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest

"We are no longer familiar with the Xingú River," whose waters govern "our way of life, our income, our food and our navigation," lamented Bel Juruna, a young indigenous leader from Brazil´s Amazon rainforest.

Latin American Electric Utilities COVID-accelerated Evolution

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated an evolution across Latin American electric utilities. The need for utilities to manage structural issues derived from increased deployment of Renewable Sources of Energy (RSE) such as wind and solar and Distributed Energy Resources (DER) has rapidly increased. Technology is unleashing major disruptions and challenges. In many ways, Latin America’s traditional electric utilities are in crisis. 

Energy Efficiency for Developing Countries: Pivoting from Fewer Inputs to More Outputs

Energy efficiency (EE) is often marketed as a tool to save energy and money. The oft-repeated mantra is doing “more with less”, namely producing more goods with less energy. But, as set out in a recent World Bank report (which I co-authored), EE can do something that is often much more important for developing countries: it can produce the additional goods and services needed to raise standards of living. 

Solar Power from Argentina’s Puna Highlands Reaches Entire Country

The unprecedented growth of renewable energies in Argentina over the last three years has borne its greatest fruit: the Cauchari solar park, with nearly one million photovoltaic panels and 300 MW of installed power, which was connected to the national power grid on Sept. 26.

Mexico Sticks to Natural Gas, Despite Socioenvironmental Impacts

In his community of small farmers and ranchers in northern Mexico, Aristeo Benavides has witnessed the damage caused by the natural gas industry, which has penetrated collectively owned landholdings, altering local communities' way of life and forms of production.

G20 Puts More into Fossil Than Green Energy in Covid-19 Recovery Packages

As the world’s leading economies direct trillions of dollars towards Covid-19 recovery packages, a significant proportion is going to fossil fuel industries without climate stipulations, according to the 2020 edition of the Climate Transparency Report – which has assessed the climate performance of G20 countries.

Green Recovery in Mexico – A Citizen’s Plea

The alarms warning against climate inaction have sounded for years. Almost a year into the hardest pandemic and maybe the worst economic recession my generation has seen, expert voices everywhere are claiming this to be the golden opportunity to do something to right our course and even find a silver lining in this unfortunate situation, by funding the economic recovery of COVID-19 with a green stimulus package.

Chile’s Energy Revolution Has an Achilles’ Heel

The Atacama Desert, a giant reservoir of solar power, is the battering ram of the transformation undertaken by Chile to decarbonise its energy mix, in a country with enormous potential in non-conventional renewable sources.

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