martes, 8 de febrero de 2011

Renewable Energy: Opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean as a subcontinent has all the conditions to be the next region in the world to lead the renewable energy; for it, they are preparing themselves to develop and disseminate alternative technologies in order to have greater participation of renewable energy within the energy mix; apart from dispose with a large influx of new investment inflows in the coming years. It is indicates by the Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, a provider of research data and clean energy worldwide.

This report indicates that "the political stability and economic growth combined with growing concerns about energy security and climate change have created the right conditions." Hence, already implemented policies to support renewable energy and bio fuels, or on track to be taken, this sub region is ready for the arrival of the eco-investment in energy.

Likewise, studies of the Renewable Energy Committee attached to the UN, indicates a steady growth in clean energy investment in Latin America and the Caribbean, especially eolian power. In this report, it is estimated that 2011 promises to be a record year for investment in the eolian and bio fuels.

The 2010 was a record year for installation of eolian farms in the region, with over 736MW, and a cumulative capacity reaches 1.4GW. It predicts that by 2015, the cumulative capacity in Argentina, Brazil and Chile will be in the order of 8GW. Also, it is estimated that environmental and social concerns will prevent the growth of large-scale hydropower, forcing then to diversify energy sources.

Another key point in the analysis is that bio fuels are an important sub sector of clean energy in the region. Brazil and Argentina have already deployed systems and there are industries that started the production of bio fuels, as is the case of Colombia and Peru. The opportunity to develop biomass energy is still enormous potential in Latin America, in countries with abundant land and other resources.

We can highlight efforts such as Chile, where the share of renewable energy has begun if you want a little modest, compared to energy that demands commitment. However, this will generate 300 MW of total installed capacity of 12,000. The Government's decision is that renewable energy has to contribute to help diversify Chile's energy matrix and reduce the high dependence on fuel from abroad.

In Brazil the development of renewable energy is very advanced. Brazil began a program to develop alternative sources by 2002. Currently, 60 percent focused their projects on alternative energy in the biomass projects will begin to give significant results in 2011. The Brazilian's bet is on the technology of biomass.

The regional experiences located in Central America and the Caribbean just show us that the Caribbean community is working to create a financial structure to expand the renewable energy market. For example, the Wigton eolic farm in Jamaica, which began operations in May 2004. Wind power is the main challenge of the Jamaican government, which aims to have a 15% of renewable energy by 2020.

In Peru may be mentioned as a success the installation of solar hot springs in the area of Arequipa, where 10 092 have been released baths (which corresponds to about 6.7 MW of total installed capacity). Also in Peru would be more than 19 600 PV modules installed.

Costa Rica, since 1996, has started operations of its eolian farm, the country has maintained its leadership in Latin America in terms of electricity generation capacity from wind. Due to the 62.3 MW installed in four plants (three private and one Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad property) and a capacity to generate electricity over 180 GWh / year, Costa Rica is an important study case in the use of renewable energy sources in the region.

Cuba began in the year 2000, the electrification of rural schools with solar systems. The Cuban government directly funded a program of electrification by photovoltaic panels. In less than a year, solar systems were installed in 1 994 schools, thereby benefiting 34 000 children in rural areas.

Mexico has two major programs related with the use of solar energy through the use of photovoltaic cells built with proprietary technology. The first, implemented in the seventies, is related to the secondary schools system consisting of classrooms located in rural areas that rely on a signal arriving at a TV that runs on electricity generated by photocells. The second program, called "Renewable Energy Program for Agriculture", where they develop facilities geared to agricultural applications (water pumping and cooling systems for food preservation) in rural locations outside the grid, particularly in the State of Chihuahua, northern Mexico.

Latin America and the Caribbean are advancing with sure steps, achieving in the present a 23 percent of renewable energy from the total energy production.

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