Energy generation and consumption are the pillars that sustain any development model. The majority of Latin American countries are challenged by growing demand, an infrastructure deficit, a lack of planning culture in government and insufficient incentives to increase energy efficiency. Add to that an escalation in social conflicts surrounding a series of projects, and a growth trend in CO₂ emissions in the emerging economies of the region.

 

 

The technology needed to generate energy from the sun, wind, ocean,
geothermal, solid waste, plants and rivers, among other resources, is
available to society.

Sustainable Energy Grids

F or the last 20 years, since the term “sustainable development” was coined at Brazil's Rio 92 conference and an alert was sounded about climate change, the energy sector has been considered one of the main villains in the climate change crisis. The exhaustion of the planet’s resources means that conventional energy sources are becoming scarce. That’s why the energy sector has sprung into action to develop new technologies to generate and distribute energy. The technology needed to generate energy from the sun, wind, ocean, geothermal, solid waste, plants and rivers, among other resources, has been demonstrated and is available to society.


These new technologies, however, have not evolved at the global scale due to a complex web of challenges.  Key among these is the influence of special interests that benefit from and seek to protect the predominant energy structure, a lack of strategic planning or long term vision from government, and the dependence on a centralized system of energy generation.

 

What Avina Does for Energy

Latin America is the region of the world with the highest concentration of resources for generating energy sustainably, but global energy challenges are also clearly reflected in the region's energy policies. Only now are the first steps toward a more sustainable energy grid being taken.


Several Latin American countries are acting proactively to define policies that consolidate a sustainable energy grid. With that in mind, and within the context of 2012 as the UN’s “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All”, Avina and its allies sought to set the stage for a new energy governance that allows different players to participate in planning and decision-making in the sector, guaranteeing equal voice and facilitating a long term vision for a more sustainable, safe and inclusive grid.  In this context there are three main areas of action:

 

  1. Create a transparent and public debate about the long term vision for energy and generate conditions in the sector for more sustainable policy decisions.
  2. Strengthen energy security and diversification of the matrix based on incorporating renewable energy sources into the grid and increasing energy efficiency.
  3. Promote universal access to high quality, clean energy.

 

Below are some of the results of Avina’s work with our allies on Energy during 2012.

 

Contribution to Chile’s National
Energy Strategy 2012-2030

 

A Plataforma de Cenários Energéticos do Chile é um
espaço que colabora com insumos e contribui para
a definição do Plano Nacional de Energia.

In February of 2012, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, along with then Energy Minister Rodrigo Álvarez Zenteno, presented the Estrategia Nacional de Energia, 2012-2030 (National Energy Strategy 2012-2030), which includes seven themes for developing the country’s energy market: energy efficiency, renewable energy, more hydroelectric power,  less dependence on imports, a public electricity highway, a more competitive electricity market and options for regional interconnections for electricity.


The National Energy Strategy 2012-2030 is a result of the Energy Ministry’s analysis and projections which incorporate input from businesses and civil society organizations interested in Chile’s energy future. As part of the social consultation process which led to the strategy, Avina convened and developed Chile’s Plataforma Escenarios Energéticos Chile (Energy Scenarios Platform) which, in 2012, became the recognized platform of reference for debating the energy future of the country. The platform assured technical rigor and a level playing field for a diversity of proponents, supplying content and contributing to the complex compromises embodied in the National Energy Plan.  As a collateral benefit, the platform has produced a culture of dialogue between the sector’s main players, who are united by their common objective—a long term energy vision for Chile built through dialogue between diverse sectors and contributing to a sustainable energy policy.


Following on this success, Avina’s institutional strategy for Energy joined Argentine institutions in presenting the results of the energy scenarios dialogue for Argentina 2030. With regard to renewable energy, Avina partnered with Mesa Solar (Solar Task Force Uruguay) in its contributions to the Plan Solar Térmico del Uruguay (Solar Thermal Plan of Uruguay).  This stimulus program for Uruguayan households and businesses promotes the use of clean and renewable energy through the installation of solar water heaters, leading to efficiency and lower bills. Avina also supported its allies in monitoring the legislation for decentralized energy in Chile and Brazil. Finally, Avina supported the launch of the Latin American Platform for Just and Sustainable Energy. 

 

Decentralized Microgeneration in Brazil

 

Brazil approved a norm that establishes permits and regulates the
connection of micro and mini energy generation to the power grid.

Brazil’s electricity regulatory agency, ANEEL, approved a new regulation (Resolution 482/2012) in December of 2012 that establishes the general conditions for connecting micro-energy generation to the power grid. The regulation also created a financial compensation system for energy supplied to the grid.


The regulation allows consumers to install energy generators of up to 100kW on their property, using solar, wind, biomass, qualified co-generation and hydro-powered sources of energy. It also provides a legal basis for connecting to the power grid; electricity distribution companies are obligated by the regulation to receive the applications of micro and mini-generation distributors looking to connect to the utility grid.

 

The approval of this measure has been pending since 2004 due to strong pressure from groups opposed to the regulation. In 2012, with backing from the Brazilian government and pressure from civil society, the resolution was submitted, approved and implemented. Avina has fully backed the participation of its allies in the Rede Nacional de Organizações para as Energias Renováveis (National Network of Civil Society Organizations for Renewable Energies) in public hearings focused on the issue. These activities contributed to moving the proposals forward.

Countries where Avina’s Opportunity for Impact in Energy operates

 

 

Our main allies and co-
investors for this Opportunity for Impact in 2012 were: 

  • OAK Foundation: pledges its resources to tackle international, social and environmental challenges, especially those that impact the less privileged. It is a co-investor in the Energy strategy supported by Avina.
  • Rede Nacional de Organizações para as Energias Renováveis (National Network of Civil Society Organizations for Renewable Energies, RENOVE): leads the Plataforma Latinoamericana de Energias Sostenibles y Equidad (Latin American Platform of Just and Sustainable Energy) made up of 35 civil society organizations that promote access to energy and the development of technologies for sustainable power generation.
  • Plataforma Escenarios Energéticos Chile (Energy Scenarios Platform of Chile): an alliance of institutions that promote an open debate about energy in Chile.
  • Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (Latin American Future Foundation): Avina’s first ally in the Energy Scenarios Platform in Chile. It is dedicated to strengthening leadership and facilitating processes to reach agreement on long term sustainable visions and policies in the region.
  • Escenarios Energéticos Argentina (Energy Scenarios Platform Argentina): an alliance of institutions that promote open debate about energy in Argentina.
  • Mesa Solar (Solar Task Force Uruguay): comprised of different players from three sectors of society interested in advancing energy efficiency policies in Uruguay.