Latin America on Track to Become Renewable Energy Giant

Latin America is set to become a global leader in renewable energy development by the end of the decade as a slew of major solar and wind projects come online, according to independent think tank Global Energy Monitor (GEM).
But the region must overcome environmental, economic and social obstacles to fulfill its vast clean energy potential, GEM warns in a new report.
“While distributed solar may be at the crux of the renewables transition in Latin America, the region is also at a major inflection point when it comes to supporting important utility-scale projects that could turn it into a global energy giant,” the San Francisco-based entity says.
According to GEM, Latin America will increase its utility-scale solar and wind capacity more than four-fold if 319GW of planned new capacity materializes.
That figure, when added to distributed generation and small-scale solar projects, leaves the region poised to meet or even surpass net zero targets for 2030 established by the International Energy Agency.
“The renewables race is accelerating quickly, which means countries that have ramped up efforts like Brazil and Colombia must remain vigilant while creating large-scale solar and wind projects,” the report says.
“Latin America can become a world benchmark for a just energy transition if future projects respect ecological balances and bring not only economic, but also social benefits.”
GEM says Brazil leads the region for prospective new capacity with a project pipeline of 217GW followed by Chile (38GW), Colombia (37GW), Peru (10 GW) and Mexico (7 GW).
The top five countries for current utility scale wind and solar capacity are Brazil (27GW), Mexico (20GW), Chile (10GW), Argentina (5GW) and Uruguay (2GW).
Despite having been an early trailblazer for clean energy in the region, Mexico has lost ground in recent years amid government moves to curtail private investment and favor fossil fuel generation.
“With a collective capacity of over 57GW, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico make up almost 84% of the existing 69GW of currently operating utility-scale solar and wind farms in the region,” GEM says.
“But while Brazil, Chile, and Colombia stand at the vanguard of the renewables race, Mexico has fallen behind; ultimately only set to reach 70% of its pledge to bring 40GW of solar and wind by 2030 – even if all prospective projects come online,” the report adds.

About Parvin Faghfouri Azar

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