South America's Renewable Energy Boom

Posted on 3rd July 2024

South America is making significant strides in the renewable energy sector, marking a new era of sustainability and innovation.

Renewable energy illustration

When it comes to country specific data, Colombia is poised to make a substantial leap in its renewable energy capabilities. The country is set to add over 1 GW of non-conventional renewable energy (NCRE) capacity. This ambitious project aligns with Colombia's national strategy to diversify its energy sources and reduce its carbon footprint. The addition of this capacity will significantly bolster Colombia's renewable energy portfolio.

Chile continues to be at the forefront of renewable energy developments in South America. A noteworthy project underway is the construction of the San Andres Battery Storage Facility in San Andres. This facility is a critical step in enhancing the stability and reliability of Chile's renewable energy grid. By providing storage capabilities, the San Andres facility will ensure that renewable energy is efficiently stored and distributed, minimising waste and maximising efficiency. Several new hydropower, wind power, and solar power plants are currently under construction in Chile. Additionally, the Chilean government is promoting the integration of electric buses into the public transport system and is fostering partnerships among bus operators, electricity companies, and electric bus manufacturers.

Brazil is not just focusing on renewable electricity but also on innovative energy solutions such as green hydrogen. An agreement has been reached to produce green hydrogen at the port of Rio De Janeiro. Green hydrogen, produced using renewable energy sources, is seen as a key component in the global transition to sustainable energy.

Argentina is making notable advancements in wind and solar energy, with investment opportunities growing due to supportive policies. For example, The RenovAr programme involves renewable energy auctions to stimulate investment and project development in the sector. These auctions have been successful in allocating projects across various renewable technologies such as wind, solar, and biomass, driving forward Argentina's green energy agenda. The overall share of renewables in Argentina's electricity supply mix is about 11.8%. Within this segment, wind energy represents the largest portion at 62%, followed by solar energy at 23%.

Regional policies promoting renewable energy are critical to the sector's growth. Countries have implemented various incentives and regulatory frameworks to attract investment and encourage innovation. For example, Ecuador has adopted several regulatory measures and incentives to attract investment, notably through the 'Organic Law of Incentives for Public-Private Partnerships and Foreign Investment,' which provides various tax incentives to boost private investments in critical sectors like areas that contribute to sustainable development. Through the 'C-JET Programme,' the World Bank is assisting Ecuador in designing regulatory frameworks that enable private sector competitiveness in the green economy. Many South American countries have also set ambitious renewable energy targets. Argentina aims for 20% of its electricity to come from renewables by 2025, while, Brazil aims to achieve 50% of its power from renewable sources and to meet 88% of its electricity demand with renewables by 2030.

Despite the progress, several challenges remain. Technical and infrastructure issues, political and economic hurdles, and environmental and social considerations all pose barriers to further development. Upfront costs for renewable energy projects can be relatively high, and access to affordable financing may be limited. Technical and administrative capacity in local institutions to manage and promote renewable energy projects may also pose challenges.

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Despite some challenges, the future of renewable energy in Latin America looks promising, with continuous innovations and technological advancements driving growth. If all energy and climate goals are met, Latin America's renewable energy supply is projected to triple by 2050.South America's advancements in renewable energy are impressive, reflecting a robust commitment to sustainability and innovation across the continent.


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