10 January 2019 |Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
On 10 January, during the pre-Assembly day of the 9th Assembly, IRENA held the High-level Meeting on Renewable Energy in Latin America, which brought together Ministers and high-level representatives from 18 Latin American countries, as well as partner organisations, to discuss opportunities and challenges to scaling-up renewables in the region, and present IRENA’s new Regional Action Plan.
IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin provided opening remarks.
The meeting was opened with remarks from Mr. Adnan Amin, Director-General of IRENA, Mr. Guillermo Moncecchi , Deputy Minister of Industry, Energy, and Mining, Uruguay, and H.E. María Fernanda Suárez Londoño, Minister of Mines and Energy, Colombia. A scene-setting presentation covering the Agency’s ongoing engagements in Latin America was provided by Mr. Gurbuz Gonul, Acting Director, Country Support and Partnerships Division and Mr. Dolf Gielen, Director, IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre.
During the roundtable discussion, moderated by Mr. Guillermo Moncecchi (Uruguay), countries recognised the work that IRENA has undertaken in the region and emphasised that renewable energy has taken centre stage in the energy sector throughout Latin America, with growing investment and deployment across renewable technologies, coupled with significant cost declines and robust policy measures. Various delegations highlighted the co-operation received through the initiative Clean Energy Corridor of Central America (CECCA), especially with regards to capacity building activities.
Reflecting on the Action Plan, countries reiterated the importance of enhancing long-term power sector planning, boosting power system flexibility, building capacity on variable renewable energy integration, developing enabling policy and regulation, undertaking regional roadmaps, promoting geothermal energy, maximising socio-economic benefits, and strengthening project development and finance, as well as risk mitigation tools.
These priorities were reinforced when countries highlighted some of the emerging challenges in the region, from increasingly distributed renewable generation, to the growing role of storage, to sector-coupling such as electric mobility, to accessing finance for bankable projects. Several countries also underlined the importance of hydropower as a balancing resource for variable renewables, which is helping to create opportunities for innovation with power surpluses. Furthermore, delegates reaffirmed the critical role of bioenergy resources, especially in developing sustainable transport, as well as importance of geothermal resources for power generation and direct-uses.
To advance in these areas, some countries underscored the need to leverage south-south and triangular co-operation in the implementation of the Regional Action Plan. In this regard, it was agreed that countries should increase exchanges of information and experiences on various aspects of the energy transformation to support renewable energy deployment in Latin America, and IRENA should serve as a platform for this purpose.
The high-level meeting follows a period of stakeholder consultations, undertaken by IRENA with Latin American Members in 2018, to identify priority areas for support in the region. As an outcome of this process, the Agency developed the Regional Action Plan, which provides a listing of future IRENA technical-advisory and capacity-building activities aimed at addressing the main barriers to renewable energy deployment in Latin America. This work leverages a range of IRENA’s tools and analytical products, and is intended to be undertaken in collaboration with key partners and in conjunction with ongoing initiatives in the region.
The Action Plan builds on the Abu Dhabi Communique on Accelerating Renewable Energy Uptake in Latin America, adopted by countries of the region during IRENA’s 5th Assembly (January 2015), as well as the findings of IRENA’s Regional Market Analysis: Latin America (2016).
Mr. Gurbuz Gonul, Acting Director, Country Support and Partnerships Division, IRENA
Mr. Dolf Gielen, Director, IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre
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