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IRENA reports 1,500 MW potential for Nicaragua

IRENA has released a Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) for Nicaragua. The report offers an overview of the country’s energy sector, renewable energy potential, current projects, barriers to implementation and opportunities for expansion

As part of a wider report on the Renewable Readiness of Nicaragua, IRENA has released its estimates on geothermal naming a potential of 1,500 MW of installed geothermal power generation capacity.

Based on consultations with representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), UN Development Program (UNDP), the Central American Integration System (SICA), World Bank, civil society and others, the report provides eight recommendations to increase the share of renewables in the country’s energy mix through 2020 in line with Nicaragua’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Country Action Plan.

The foremost recommendation is to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework for renewables, in particular by amending Law No. 532 for the Promotion of Electricity Generation with Renewable Sources. The report finds that the Law’s upcoming 2015 expiration offers an important opportunity to accelerate the cost-competitive integration of renewables into the national grid.

The assessment also identifies opportunities for the public and private sectors to work with local communities to design and plan small hydropower plants and isolated solar PV systems to deliver distributed power to the 1.5 million people living in remote areas who currently lack it. In addition to solar and small hydro, the report presents actions to increase the use of wind, geothermal, sustainable firewood and charcoal, and biofuels for transport, as well as steps that could be taken to prepare the grid for high shares of variable renewable energy.

Other actions include the preparation of an action plan for universal access to energy services that address gender issues, and the completion of a Capacity Needs Assessment (CNA) for Nicaragua’s renewable energy workforce

Source: IRENA Press Release via Sustainable Energy Policy and Practice

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