Latin America Green News: Chile is global leader in renewable energy investments, Brazil launches wireless Amazon monitoring system

December 22, 2016

Thanks to Maria Martinez at NRDC.org

Latin America Green News: Chile is global leader in renewable energy investments, Brazil launches wireless Amazon monitoring system, Germany supports Peru’s conservation efforts

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The 2016 Climatescope report, an annual assessment of climate-related investments and policies by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, ranked Chile among emerging markets as the second most competitive country for renewable energy after China. Its ability to attract capital for low-carbon energy projects moved it up three spots on the list since it first appearance in 2014.

BrazilUruguayHonduras, and Mexico also made the top ten list arriving in third, fourth, eighth and ninth place respectively. According to the report, when it comes to renewable energy investments, emerging markets have taken the lead over the 35 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), spending US$154.1 billion in 2015 compared with US$153.7 billion by wealthier OECD countries. The report highlighted that the growth rates of clean-energy deployment in emerging market states are higher than wealthier countries and all signs indicate they are likely to remain the clean energy leaders indefinitely, especially now that three-quarters have established clean-energy targets. (Emol 12/20/2016, El Economista 12/16/2016)  For further analysis of the Climatescope Report and Latin America’s leadership in clean energy development in Español, read our blog.

Conservation

Unfortunately, though Chile leads the region in renewable energy, it continues to see widespread loss of land due to climate change, inadequate land use, and deforestation. The country appears to be losing land at a slow and steady pace, about 237,000 hectares between 1999 and 2013. Of the millions of hectares experiencing erosion, about five million have already reached severe erosion and scientists believe they cannot be saved. Those who conducted the study pointed to a lack of resources in enforcement of laws and monitoring of land as a major cause of the loss. (El Dinamo 12/15/2016)

This week Germany announced it will donate an additional US$15.5 million towards environmental conservation in Peru. This brings the total amount given for this purpose since 2013 to US$ 46.8 million. The donation was earmarked for the Program for Financial Sustainability of Protected Natural Areas which aims to contribute to effective and sustainable management of national protected lands. German ambassador in Peru, Joerg Ranau, praised Peru as “as one of the most efficient in managing Natural Protected Areas in the world.” While Peru’s Ministry of the Environment noted Germany has become the most important international partners for conservation in Peru and one of the largest economic contributors. (La Prensa 12/19/2016)

Deforestation

In an effort to combat deforestation in the Amazon, Brazil launched a wireless sensor system that remotely monitors forests and species. The project, known as the Providence Project, consists of wireless sensors placed throughout the forest that will be constantly monitored by teams of scientists from Australia, Spain, and Brazil. The team of scientists who launched the project are being funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation during the first phase of the project. Previously, wildlife was difficult to monitor as scientists had to physically travel through the forest to collect information on species. The hope is that the sensors will improve data gathering, provide a more accurate representation of forest conditions, and help researches save the rainforests from logging, mining, and agricultural activities.

Green Financing

Mexico City issued a new wave of green bonds for the financing of a variety of municipal sustainable projects. The five-year bonds, valued at US$49 million, were issued on the Mexican stock exchange last Thursday selling quickly to local investment and retirement funds. The intermediary bond provider, HSBC, and the Mexican stock exchange have expressed great interest in this new market reporting that investors and financial institutions are becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their investments. The bonds are expected to finance a range of ventures with 40 percent of the funding earmarked for water management projects, 55 percent for sustainable public transportation, and five percent for energy efficiency projects. (Excelsior 12/15/16)

Renewables

With the third largest wind and second largest solar power reserves in the world and a commitment from the president to develop the renewables sectorArgentina’s future looks bright at the moment. This week President Mauricio Macri once again reaffirmed his commitment to develop the country’s renewables sector and diversify its energy portfolio. Despite tremendous potential the country is lagging behind its regional neighbors, with only eight MW of new wind power installed in 2015. Despite the slow progress the government has invested US$1.8 billion over the last five years to develop clean energy, and new legislative commitments are expected to stimulate more public and private investment. At the same time, in a unanimous decision, Argentina’s Supreme Court suspended work on two highly controversial dams in the Santa Cruz province. The “Kirchner” and “Cepernic” dams were initiated during the Kirchner administration with funding from China, yet the Court found that they did not go through the proper environmental review and public hearing process.  (iProfesional 12/19/16, Telam 12/21/16)

Google is walking the walk, announcing this week that it will partner with ACCIONA energy company to run its power processing center in Quilicura, Chile entirely on renewable energy starting in 2017. The goal will be possible due to a photovoltaic plant known as “El Romero Solar” which is already under construction. When operations commence, Romero will be the largest photovoltaic plant in the region and one of the ten largest in the world. Google’s new goal will avoid the emission of 473,000 tons of CO2 emissions from coal-fired plants. (Energia Limpia Para Todos 12/19/2016)