The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is the United Nations agency responsible for promoting the economic and social development of the region. Its incumbent executive secretary, Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, from Mexico, has recently participated in different forums emphasizing the relevance of renewable energies in the future of Iberoamerica.

The Renewable Energies Sector

In her presentations before different international panels, including within the framework of Siemens Energy’s Energy Week in Latin America, Bárcena has stressed that “the renewable energy sector is a powerful engine of growth, job creation and innovation. We must start by giving access to electricity to 20 million Latin Americans who still do not have it.”

It is clear that Iberoamerica has all the conditions to become a true global renewable energy hub with great potential, also, in green hydrogen. Countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Costa Rica and Mexico have great possibilities to develop a competitive green hydrogen industry, to take advantage and replicate the opportunities and capabilities already developed in other regions and, at the same time, boost this resource in other countries in the region. The current electrical matrices are relatively clean or are in the process of being decarbonized, so the opportunities to strengthen these changes are increasingly evident and trigger multiple potentialities that must, without a doubt, be taken advantage of.

It is a fact that it is critical for the regulatory and political framework to be up to par with these challenges and that certain obstacles are resolved quickly and effectively. To allow the renewable energy industry to truly take off, it is key to formalize H2 (hydrogen) under the political, institutional and legal framework, include it in public agendas and give a space to and support the private sector. Furthermore, it is very important to build a true regional agenda that takes advantage of the synergies required to increase competitiveness.

One of the Sectors of Greatest Interest

It is very eloquent that, despite the drop in foreign direct investment announcements in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, renewable energies have still remained the sector of greatest interest, reaching the record figure of 33% of the aggregate amount of investments for the region in 2020.

Bárcena stated that with an annual investment of just 1.33% of the regional GDP between 2021 and 2032, which is equivalent to 114 dollars per capita (close to 80,000 million dollars), and using renewable technology (that is, solar and wind power) in line with Sustainable Development Goal number 7 on access to affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), the coverage gaps could be closed and the region’s electricity matrix could be reached with over 86% of renewable energy.” This process could also generate nearly 7 million jobs and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30%.

Read the full article published in El Periódico de la Energía (Spanish) here.