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Latin America to become renewable energy power house

Field trip at Los Azufres, Mexico, 2013 (source: Mexican Geothermal Association)
Francisco Rojas 18 Aug 2015

Despite a long road ahead, Latin America has massive untapped renewable potential that it's seeing huge growth and will most likely make the region into a green powerhouse.

Renewable energy has massive potential in Latin America.The 600 million people living on the area need to stop relying on fossil fuels and move towards a sustainable energy future

Local Mexican sources mention a WWF report where it is estimated that if the region utilised only a small fraction of its non-hydro renewable capacity could satisfy the energy demand in the growing economies of the region, which would favor long-term energy security, reduce energy costs, boost industrial development and create jobs, and of course, help mitigate the effects of climate change.

While today there are a large number of projects, especially wind and solar (geothermal – yet again the forgotten renewable) that are ongoing and will be crucial to meet the target of 20 percent renewable by 2050, currently only 6 per cent of all energy generated is green. On a positive side, the number of investments increases every year. The same source details that there is a clear change in trend, since only last year renewable represented more than 22 billion dollars worldwide, representing 8 percent of all global investment in the sector and about 40 percent more than those in 2013 according to a recent study by Altium Capital.

In addition, investment is more diversified. Up until 2012, between 70 and 80 percent of the investment was spent on renewable projects in Brazil  and now more funds are going to countries like Chile (20 percent), Uruguay (9 per cent) Mexico (6 percent), Honduras and Peru (4 percent, respectively).

Geothermal is seeing more developments, specially in Mexico (Round zero for geothermal), slow but steady development in Central America and the Caribbean and more recently in Chile, with its first geothermal power plant going into construction soon. The geothermal installed capacity in Latin America is about 1.4 gigawatts.

Source: El Financiero