Date: March 31
New data published by the Global Energy Monitor indicates that Latin America has the potential to increase its utility-scale solar and wind capacity by more than 460% by 2030 if the 319 gigawatts (GW) of potential new projects in the region are launched.
Coupled with existing smaller-scale and distributed solar capacity, Latin America will be on track to meet, and potentially exceed, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) regional net-zero renewable energy targets for 2030 if implements all its prospective projects on a larger scale.
Brazil, Chile and Colombia, the main countries in the future wind and solar landscape in Latin America, are seeing a constant growth in the increase of possible projects. The three countries are all focused on meeting their nationally set wind and solar targets.
According to Brazil’s 2050 National Energy Plan, this country expects to have 194 GW of wind power and 91 GW of centralized solar power (about 285 GW combined). Likewise, it recognizes that the country can exceed these figures in certain scenarios. By 2030, if Brazil were to put all its possible projects into practice, it would have 244 GW of full-scale solar and wind power, leaving two more decades to close the 41 GW gap. That 244 GW of solar and wind power would be enough to displace all 32 GW of its currently operating fossil fuel projects, reduce the degree of reliance of its 109 GW on drought-prone hydro projects, and have spare capacity to deal with a Greater demand.
Top 5 countries for projected large-scale wind and solar capacity by 2030 – Source: Global Energy Monitor
Compared to the top three countries with planned capacity in Latin America, Mexico’s large-scale wind and solar installations have declined. Mexico was a prominent leader in the development of large-scale wind and solar power for many years with strong annual growth. In November 2022, in an announcement at COP27, it was said that Mexico would aspire to 40 GW of renewable energy to be in operation in its energy matrix by 2030. However, to meet this objective, the installation of 18 GW of projects is necessary. between 2022 and 2030, and Mexico’s planned and operational large-scale wind and solar capacity by 2030 falls short of this goal by any means. To achieve this, Mexico must carry out all possible projects in addition to bringing an additional 11 GW of wind and solar projects online.
Source: Global Energy Monitor
Peru experienced a lull in large-scale wind and solar deployment between 2017 and 2022, but the outcome of the 2022 power auction reflects a promising rebound in anticipated projects. The country has more future projects than Mexico (10.0 GW vs. 6.7 GW). If all the planned projects in the region were realized, the top five large-scale solar and wind power generators in the region by 2030 would see Peru enter the group of top five countries in terms of operational capacity, falling ahead of Argentina.
Large-scale cumulative wind and solar capacity development per year for top 5 countries forecast – Source: Global Energy Monitor
The Global Energy Monitor asserts that while distributed solar power may be at the crux of the transition to renewables in Latin America, the region is also at a major inflection point when it comes to supporting major large-scale projects that they could turn it into a global energy giant.
Kasandra O’Malia, project manager, Global Solar Power Tracker, noted that “while distributed solar may be at the crux of the transition to renewables in Latin America, the region is also at a major inflection point. when it comes to supporting major large-scale projects that could make it a global energy giant.”
For her part, Sophia Bauer, a researcher at Global Energy Monitor, noted that “the race for renewable energy is accelerating rapidly, which means that countries that have intensified their efforts, such as Brazil and Colombia, must remain vigilant as they create solar projects. and large-scale wind farms. Latin America can become a world benchmark for a just energy transition if future projects respect ecological balances and bring not only economic benefits, but also social ones.”
Source: Review Energy