The Way Forward for Renewable Energy in Central America

Event Date: 
March 6, 2013 - 5:30pm
Location: 
San José, Costa Rica

Worldwatch and INCAE present key findings from their Central America report

The Worldwatch Institute and the INCAE Business School’s Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS), with support from the Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the Energy and Environment Partnership with Central America (AEA/EEP), will present key findings from their report The Way Forward for Renewable Energy in Central America on March 6, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. at the Herradura Wyndham Hotel in San José, Costa Rica.

Over the last year, through extensive research, interviews, country visits, and consultation workshops, Worldwatch and INCAE have explored the current status and future potentials for renewable energy technologies in Central America; analyzed socioeconomic opportunities of their advancement; assessed finance and investment barriers and enablers; and developed policy recommendations for how to accelerate energy solutions in the region that are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. 

The report examines energy trends in the region and concludes that renewable power generation is growing rapidly in Central America. However, significant policy and investment efforts are needed to take full advantage of the region’s vast renewable resource potential and to diversify the regional energy matrix, from creating and mainstreaming policy instruments and administrative processes to improving investment conditions to develop new projects.

The report also identifies two impact areas where renewable energy can play a key role in climate-compatible development while improving the livelihoods of millions in Central America. With more than 7 million people having limited or no access to electricity services, and traditional biomass use accounting for 82 percent of the region’s residential energy consumption, distributed renewables and the introduction of innovative ways to reduce high levels of fuel wood consumption represent two alternatives to expand important social and economic opportunities such as health care, education, and income generation in the region.

The report also highlights the socioeconomic benefits of renewable energy to meet future electricity demand in grid-connected areas in Central America, as opposed to continued growth in fossil fuel-generated electricity.

Worldwatch Climate and Energy Director Alexander Ochs and Central America Project Manager Adam Dolezal, together with CLACDS Associate Director Ana Maria Majano, will present the project’s findings for the first time as part of AEA/EEP’s 21st Regional Forum. Worldwatch’s President Emeritus Christopher Flavin will also present at the forum, on the contribution of energy efficiency policies and the use of renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions.

This conference convenes officials from the Ministries of Energy and Environment from all seven Central American System for Integration (SICA) countries as well as representatives from international and regional institutions, NGOs, research organizations, media, and the private sector. 

For more information or to schedule interviews with Worldwatch researchers, contact Ramon Palencia at rpalencia@worldwatch.org. If you are unable to attend in person, you can view a livestream of the event on our website at www.worldwatch.org/centralamerica.

Visit the Worldwatch website for more information about our Climate and Energy Program and AEA/EEP’s websitefor more information about the forum.

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About the Worldwatch Institute:

Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. The Institute’s State of the World report is published annually in 15 languages. For more information, visit www.worldwatch.org. Worldwatch's Climate and Energy Program aims to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy based on sustainable use of renewable energy sources in concert with major energy efficiency gains, sustainable agricultural practices, and low-emissions transportation. The group reports regularly on its work on the Institute’s Re|Volt blog at http://blogs.worldwatch.org/revolt/.

About the INCAE Business School:

The INCAE Business School is a private, nonprofit, multinational, higher education organization devoted to teaching and research endeavors in the fields of business and economics. The Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS) is INCAE’s principal research and impact center, and has a long history of collaboration with regional and international organizations in the promotion of sustainability in the energy sector through the development of case studies, promotion of dialogue, and training activities. For more information, visit www.incae.edu/en.

About the Climate Development Knowledge Network:

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network supports decision makers in designing and delivering climate-compatible development. This is done by combining research, advisory services, and knowledge management in support of locally owned and managed policy processes. The organization works in partnership with decision makers in the public, private, and nongovernmental sectors nationally, regionally, and globally.For more information, visit www.cdkn.org.

About the Energy and Environment Partnership in Central America: The Energy and Environment Partnership with Central America (AEA/EEP) is an initiative launched during the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. AEA/EEP’s objectives are to promote the sustainable use of the renewable energy sources and clean technologies through the development of accessible energy services, for the most underprivileged groups from rural areas in the region, and to support the three bases of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. For more information, visit www.sica.int/energia/index_en.aspx?Idm=2&IdmStyle=2.