Renewables advocates warn that if Congress doesn’t provide incentives, the U.S. will lose an enormous greentech opportunity to China. Germany and Japan are also reaching for the renewables gold ring, and other EU and Asian nations are rapidly growing new energy economies.
And multinational developers, weary of fighting U.S. policy and regulatory resistance, are starting to take note of untapped renewables riches in Latin America’s emerging economies.
In both wind and solar, Latin America has “an enormous resource potential,” according to Global Energy Network Institute (GENI) President Peter Miesen, as well as “policies in place” to drive development.
There is already incipient growth, Miesen said in an Agrion Global Network for Energy presentation. In addition, established manufacturers and developers, especially those in Spain who share both a language and a cultural history, may have a unique opportunity in Latin America. He was suggesting, but did not name, Spanish multinational renewables powerhouses like Iberdrola, Gamesa, and Acciona.
From the middle of the last decade, growth in Latin America’s installed wind capacity has been greater than that of any of the world’s leaders except China. There is now, Miesen said, a cumulative 2,500 megawatts of wind power, largely in Brazil and Mexico, with some development in Costa Rica and Argentina.
“Just a toe in the water” is how Miesen described Latin America’s approximately 200 megawatts of installed solar capacity. “The region is blessed with solar [resources] but nobody has taken up the charge.” There is also, he said, little solar manufacturing capability, and what is there is essentially limited to Mexico and Argentina.