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Latin America close to becoming a renewable energy giant, according to report

Latin America close to becoming a renewable energy giant, according to report

Latin America is about to become a major producer of renewable energywith the equivalent of 1 billion solar panels in large-scale projects that will come online by 2030, according to a report published on Thursday.

In welcome news in the fight against climate change, the researchers noted that the continent will launch large-scale solar and wind power projects to generate more than 319 gigawatts, equivalent to around 70% of the regional capacity from all sources. Combined generation today.

“Rich in wind and solar resources, Latin America has the potential to be a world leader in renewable energy”says the report from Global Energy Monitor (GEM), a US-based non-profit organization that monitors clean energy development.

The projects, which include planned and under-construction facilities, will expand solar and wind power production by more than 460%, the study says.

That will turn the region into a “outstanding” global player in the production of renewable energy, said Kasandra O’Malia, project manager of GEM.

“We are already seeing a big rebound. And with all the projects planned, it will be an exponential explosion”he told AFP.

Even if they do not come to fruition, the region appears to be at a turning point and more projects are likely to be announced in the coming years, he added.

Brazil, leader of the green boom

Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, is leading the green energy boom, with 27 gigawatts of large-scale wind and solar plants in operation, and another 217 gigawatts expected through 2030.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who took office in January, vowed to increase clean energy and rebuild the country’s leadership on the climate issue, after four years of deterioration under the government of far-right Jair Bolsonaro.

But this development is concretely explained by a 2012 law that incentivized solar power in Brazil by allowing private producers to sell electricity directly to the grid, according to Roberto Zilles, director of the Institute of Energy and Environment at the University of Sao Paulo.

“Today it is cheaper to produce your own energy” to buy it, he explained to AFP.

The report also highlights developments in Chile, traditionally an importer of fossil fuels, where wind and solar power already account for 37% of installed capacity.

For its part, Colombia plans to incorporate 37 gigawatts of solar and wind energy by 2030.

Mexico, stagnant

On the contrary, Mexico, the second Latin American economy, is a case of concern.

The country, an early adopter of renewable energy, is currently home to the largest solar and wind projects in Latin America.

But progress has slowed since the 2021 energy reforms pushed through by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a fossil fuel advocate who made revitalizing state oil company Pemex a cornerstone of his administration.

“Mexico has stagnated,” the report says. “Even if all potential projects were brought online, the country would only meet 70% of its commitment to generate 40 gigawatts of solar and wind power by 2030,” adds.

On the other hand, the report highlights that Latin America has especially great potential as a producer of offshore (marine) wind energy.

It also indicates that green energy exports could bring you an economic gain, either by exporting surplus electricity or using renewable energy to produce green hydrogen abroad.

The production of renewable energy has skyrocketed in the world due to the fall in the prices of solar panels and wind turbines, a trend accentuated in the last year by the increase in fossil fuels driven by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The International Energy Agency said in a report in December that renewables will become the world’s largest source of electricity generation by early 2025, surpassing coal.

But the transition must be sped up to meet the Paris climate accord goal of keeping global warming to +1.5 degrees Celsius, O’Malia said.

North America, Europe and China should follow the example of Latin America, he said. “The rest of the world is not doing its part.”


Source: Gestion

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