By the Potencia correspondent
In recent years, the Latin American region has become an attractive place for energy investments, and this trend looks set to continue. Next year, over $116 billion is expected to be invested in electricity projects in Latin America. With almost 300 projects, Brazil is topping the list.
With two years left before the World Cup and four year’s to Rio de Janeiro hosts the Olympic Games, the largest and highest populated nation in Latin America is experiencing a huge rise in its electricity demand. With a population of over 200 million, Brazil is a key place for fossil fuel projects, such as coal, as well as for renewable energy – it has several wind powers projects are that are now operational.
Today, the country produces 117.5 GW and the projects in the spotlight will increase its production capacity by 31 GW.
The main projects in Brazil are based on renewable energy but the production of thermal energy is also growing. Nowadays 26 per cent of the Brazilian installed power capacity comes from thermal resources and 22 new projects are set to start this year. These represent an investment of $20 billion.
Apart from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Chile will also make significant investments in their electric generation sector. The total of all their projects represents 75 per cent of the current total energy production in Latin America.
Brazil and Argentina have also signed an important agreement to integrate to a certain degree electricity production. Telam agency quoted Argentinean minister of Industry Julio del Vido as saying this integration between both countries is an “important moment in history”. He highlighted Garabi and Panambi hydro projects as key to the electricity integration.
The projects, producing 2200 MW, will be located on the Uruguay River and represent an investment in the region of $5.2 billion.
The Panambi project will be built between the Argentinean province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. It will generate about 1048 MW. While Garabi, located between the Rio Grande do Sul and the Corrientes province in Argentina, is expected to generate around 1150 MW.
The union of two state companies, Ebisa of Argentina and Electrosul of Brazil has made these projects possible.
In Chile there are important projects concerning geothermal energy going ahead. The country has ideal geology to produce electricity based on the heat in its ground.
Renovables verdes reports that there are several projects in the Cerro Pabellon Pampa Apacheta, which are being explored and are expected to produce 50 MW.
While a New Zealand-based company, Geo Global Energy is also working on a geothermal energy project in the country. It is expected to be the first geothermal station built in Chile and will produce 70 MW. The investment in the Curacautin plant is said to be about $350 million.
With all this investment activity Latin America’s energy sector is clearly demonstrating its attractiveness to investors, many of who are moving away from their more traditional markets, such as Europe, due to the current economic situation.
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