QUITO – The Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) says that the region is making solid progress in bringing renewables into the energy matrix, with significant advances in countries including Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Brazil and Mexico.
Latin America “has a very strong history in terms of renewable energy,” OLADE’s executive secretary, Alfonso Blanco, told EFE in an interview.
He pointed out that 25 percent of the energy consumed in the region comes from renewable sources, compared with a global average of 10 percent.
“Essentially, our region is renewable,” Blanco said, citing the increasing importance of wind and solar power and record levels of output from hydroelectric dams.
Latin America has traditionally relied much more than other areas on hydroelectric power and this has given the region a head start in the transition to renewables, the Uruguayan engineer said.
Last year, he said, his homeland produced 96 percent of its electrical power from renewable sources.
“Uruguay has the global lead regarding the generation of electric power from renewable sources, with a mix of hydroelectricity, large-scale wind power, solar energy and generation from biomass,” Blanco said.
Among other countries in the region, he said that Costa Rica has a “very high” percentage of renewables, while Chile is seeing rapid expansion in solar power.
Wind power has grown strongly in Brazil and Argentina, and even Mexico, whose energy matrix “is very strongly centered on fossil fuels,” has set a “very ambitious” target for increasing the use of non-conventional sources by 2020, Blanco said.