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Central America’s Renewable Energy Future

  • The Worldwatch Institute and the INCAE Business School host workshop on energy access and renewable energy potential in Central America

energiasrenovcostarica.jpgINCAE, September 3, 2012. Today, the Worldwatch Institute (www.worldwatch.org) and the INCAE Business School’s Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS) are hosting a workshop “The Way Forward for Renewable Energy in Central America” in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

This workshop will take the form of a participative dialogue to promote the exchange of ideas and experiences between a select group of experts, civil society organizations, industry delegates and government representatives from all across Central America. The workshop will focus on the issue of access to modern energy serv Save ices and the achievement of development goals through renewable technologies.

The Central American countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama all rely heavily on large hydropower and imported petroleum to supply energy. This dependence on conventional energy sources has had wide-ranging and adverse social, environmental, and economic impacts, hampering sustained and sustainable development in the region.

Energy needs, particularly of marginalized and low-income communities, have not been sufficiently met. Although Central American governments have embraced a variety of policies to promote renewable energy—and recent trends in geothermal, wind and solar energy have been encouraging—they have not been effective enough to advance renewables to their full potential.

With support from the Climate Development Knowledge Network and the Energy and Environment Partnership with Central America, Worldwatch and the INCAE Business School are partnering to design Sustainable Energy Roadmaps that help decision makers in the region implement a transitional strategy toward an energy system that is socially, environmentally, and economically superior to the one that currently exists. Our goal is to help the region harness its immense potential to utilize renewable energy sources such as wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, and small-scale hydropower.

During the workshop, initial findings of the roadmap project will be presented and discussed. The stakeholder consultation will allow us to finalize Phase 1 of the project. The goals of this first phase are to scope existing market trends, given investment conditions, and implemented policies; to identify renewable energy success stories that can be replicated elsewhere in the region and discuss what is needed for their scale-up; and to analyze the technical, socio-economic, and political-financial cold spots where future data gathering and analysis can add to the information needed to make successful policy-choices. The following phase will define concrete steps toward rapidly expanding the adoption of renewable energy technologies in Central America, and communicate these among key decision makers.

Experts from a range of renewable energy professions, such as representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications; the Central American Integration System; and Globeleq, the developer of the region’s largest wind farm, will present best practice case studies and how to replicate such examples. Individual suggestions will be discussed in break-out groups or ‘action labs’ during the workshop. Involvement of leading thinkers in the project will extend beyond the workshop through ongoing participation in the project’s future events as well as a moderated online forum, forming a community of experts committed to advance renewable energy in Central America.

“This workshop will play an important role for the future of Central America’s renewable energy policy,” said Alexander Ochs, Director of Worldwatch’s Climate and Energy Program. “We have some of the key regional energy experts gathering in one room to discuss the region’s challenges and opportunities of renewables, discussing state of the art knowledge, reform needs and suggestions, as well as areas of regional best-practice exchange and collaboration. It’s not just that all countries will need to contribute to mitigating and adapting to global climate change. This region can become a real leader on renewables, given the high price it pays for its current energy system – some countries pay 10 percent and more of its GDP for the import of fossil fuels – as well as the exciting early experiences the region has made with adopting new, unconventional renewable technologies including geothermal, solar, biomass and wind technologies.”

The workshop will take place at the INCAE Business School’s Alajuela’s campus from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

 

Notes to Journalists:

For more information please contact Supriya Kumar at skumar@worldwatch.org or Silvia Castillo at silvia.castillo@incae.edu

About the Worldwatch Institute:

Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. Worldwatch’s Climate and Energy program identifies key components of energy and transportation systems that aim to de-carbonize the global economy, boost energy efficiency, spur innovation and job creation, address resource scarcity, and reduce local environmental pollution. For more information, visit www.worldwatch.org.

About the INCAE Business School:

The missions of INCAE are to actively promote the comprehensive development of the countries served, educating leaders in key sectors by improving their practices, attitudes, and values. This is achieved through research, teaching and the dissemination of modern managerial concepts and techniques; by strengthening analytical capabilities and comprehension of economic, social, and political phenomena; and by promoting dialogue, understanding and cooperation amongst individuals, sectors, and countries. For more information, visit www.incae.edu/en.

About 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 non-governmental 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 is an initiative launched during the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg 2002. The Energy and Environment Partnership with Central America 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 the sustainable development: the economic, the social, and the environmental. For more information, visit www.sica.int/energia/index_en.aspx?Idm=2&IdmStyle=2.

 



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