Chile a la cabeza del Hidrógeno Verde en América Latina

Chile a la cabeza del Hidrógeno Verde en América Latina

This article was originally published in PV Magazine

Cecilia Aguill√≥n, directora de la Iniciativa Transici√≥n Energ√©tica, del Instituto de las Am√©ricas: ‚ÄúEl sector el√©ctrico de Am√©rica Latina est√° bien posicionado para ser el principal impulsor del hidr√≥geno limpio, ya que el ritmo de los proyectos de energ√≠a solar y e√≥lica sigue aceler√°ndose. ‚ÄĚ

Pv magazine México, presenta hoy un texto de Cecilia Aguillón, directora de la Iniciativa Transición Energética, en el cual establece que América Latina está lista para la economía del hidrógeno verde.

Justifica que el momento por el cual está atravesando la región y el mundo, los mercados de hidrógeno limpio pueden ser clave en la recuperación económica de la pandemia de la Covid-19. El hidrógeno verde, reafirma Cecilia, acelerar la descarbonización de los sectores de la electricidad y el transporte de América Latina, atraer inversiones y crear fuentes de trabajo.

Aquí el texto integro de la directora de la Iniciativa Transición Energética del Instituto de las Américas.

‚ÄúAm√©rica Latina cuenta con algunos de los recursos de energ√≠a renovable m√°s abundantes y competitivos del mundo, incluyendo la energ√≠a hidroel√©ctrica, la energ√≠a solar y la e√≥lica. Los elementos que hacen de la regi√≥n un l√≠der mundial en energ√≠as renovables pueden facilitar un ascenso similar para la producci√≥n de hidr√≥geno limpio en esta d√©cada. Pero es importante se√Īalar que, para estimular la inversi√≥n, las econom√≠as deben ser apoyadas y mejoradas a trav√©s de pol√≠ticas y programas de incentivos de mercado.

Tomemos como ejemplo la industria fotovoltaica. La energía fotovoltaica ha demostrado que con el marco político adecuado y aplicado con éxito, el mercado no solo se estimula, sino que además ha llevado a una gran reducción de los costos. Los precios medios de la energía fotovoltaica en los Estados Unidos cayeron un 89 por ciento, de 359 dólares por MWh en 2009 a 40 dólares por MWh en 2019. La importante subasta de energía llevada a cabo en México en 2017 entregó precios de 20 dólares por MWh.

Las pol√≠ticas de energ√≠a limpia con objetivos y marcos claros aplicadas en los pa√≠ses de Am√©rica Latina en los √ļltimos a√Īos dieron lugar a subastas de energ√≠as renovables que fueron sobre suscritas. Las pol√≠ticas tambi√©n generaron precios de electricidad entre los m√°s bajos del mundo, al tiempo que inyectaban miles de millones de d√≥lares de inversi√≥n directa en sus econom√≠as.

El sector eléctrico de América Latina está bien posicionado para ser el principal impulsor de un auge del hidrógeno limpio, ya que el ritmo de los proyectos de energía solar y eólica sigue acelerándose. Sin embargo, en algunos casos, su carácter intermitente crea desajustes entre la oferta y la demanda de electricidad en el sistema, lo que lleva a los operadores de la red a interrumpir temporalmente la generación cuando ésta supera la demanda. Esto reduce el rendimiento de las inversiones. Se necesitan baterías fiables y rentables para hacer frente al problema. El almacenamiento basado en el hidrógeno se está perfilando como una solución técnicamente viable y eficaz, pero hay que hacer más para fomentar una industria competitiva.

Seg√ļn el √ļltimo informe de la IRENA sobre el hidr√≥geno y las energ√≠as renovables, el costo medio m√°s bajo de la producci√≥n de hidr√≥geno a partir de la energ√≠a e√≥lica es de 23 d√≥lares por MWh. Hay consenso en que la reducci√≥n del costo de almacenamiento ayudar√° a maximizar el uso de la generaci√≥n de energ√≠a renovable, reducir√° las importaciones de energ√≠a y contribuir√° a la prosperidad econ√≥mica. Hay aliados naturales en este esfuerzo. Los responsables de la formulaci√≥n de pol√≠ticas y los reguladores, junto con las empresas el√©ctricas y los inversores en energ√≠a renovable, est√°n cada vez m√°s alineados con objetivos y metas similares. Am√©rica Latina no tiene que empezar de cero; hay importantes lecciones que se pueden aprender de todo el mundo. Los proyectos de hidr√≥geno limpio que se est√°n desarrollando en Asia, Europa y Estados Unidos podr√≠an conducir a pol√≠ticas, programas e industrias robustas. Las lecciones aprendidas y las mejores pr√°cticas de los primeros adoptadores pueden ser cosechadas y adaptadas para desarrollar mercados exitosos de hidr√≥geno.

En América Latina, Chile podría surgir como líder del mercado del hidrógeno limpio, ya que el país tiene un excedente de producción de electricidad solar y eólica que podría aprovecharse para producir hidrógeno. El Gobierno ya está elaborando su conjunto de medidas de estímulo para la etapa posterior a la pandemia, centrándose especialmente en la descarbonización de la energía para 2040, con el respaldo de políticas agresivas orientadas al crecimiento y al ulterior despliegue de la energía renovable y la movilidad eléctrica. El Ministerio de Energía incluso está trabajando en un plan específico para desarrollar un mercado del hidrógeno. Además, el Gobierno de Chile está recabando la participación de sus sectores energético y de la energía para que se sumen a este esfuerzo. El éxito de Chile en el despliegue de la energía solar y eólica, junto con su nueva estrategia de descarbonización, puede ser un sólido ejemplo para el desarrollo de mercados de hidrógeno sostenibles y sólidos en toda la región.

Para muchos países de América Latina, uno de los desafíos más espinosos para reducir las emisiones de su sector de transporte. Incluso mercados de energía renovable muy promocionados, como el de Costa Rica, han luchado por reducir el consumo de combustibles fósiles para el transporte. El hidrógeno muestra que hay una solución posible. De hecho, el hidrógeno puede ayudar a descarbonizar el sector de los combustibles, muy probablemente como fuente para el transporte pesado, como los autobuses y camiones de larga distancia, los trenes, los barcos y los aviones.

El entorno actual de bajos precios del petr√≥leo est√° proporcionando a muchos pa√≠ses un alivio de los onerosos subsidios a los combustibles. De hecho, en algunos mercados como el de Ecuador los est√°n eliminando por completo. Podr√≠a ser prudente considerar la aplicaci√≥n de algunos de estos ahorros para promover la modernizaci√≥n de su infraestructura de transporte p√ļblico para dar cabida al uso de combustibles limpios y, por extensi√≥n, apoyar el desarrollo econ√≥mico y la reducci√≥n de las emisiones de CO2.

Las compa√Ī√≠as petroleras nacionales han tenido que cerrar las refiner√≠as debido a la reciente ca√≠da de la demanda de combustible causada por los cierres en la lucha contra la pandemia de Covid-19. Este cierre forzoso podr√≠a brindar la oportunidad de utilizar el tiempo para modernizar el equipo y capacitar a los trabajadores en la producci√≥n de combustible de hidr√≥geno. La adopci√≥n de esas medidas a corto plazo permitir√≠a dar un paso importante hacia la diversificaci√≥n al tiempo que se hace la transici√≥n a los combustibles no contaminantes. En algunos casos, las empresas petroleras y de gas pueden obtener financiaci√≥n a bajo costo, adem√°s de contar con la infraestructura, los canales de distribuci√≥n y los conocimientos t√©cnicos necesarios para producir combustibles. A medida que los pa√≠ses salen de la pandemia y examinan las pol√≠ticas y los planes de est√≠mulo para reactivar sus econom√≠as, los gobiernos deber√≠an seguir considerando la posibilidad de elaborar hojas de ruta que incluyan la promoci√≥n del hidr√≥geno no contaminante para descarbonizar sus sectores de la energ√≠a y el transporte.

Uruguay es un claro ejemplo de que las asociaciones entre el sector p√ļblico y el privado pueden trabajar para desarrollar un mercado local del hidr√≥geno y uno que pueda informar a los pa√≠ses vecinos. La compa√Ī√≠a petrolera nacional ANCAP junto con el gobierno, la compa√Ī√≠a nacional de electricidad UTE, el Banco Internacional para el Desarrollo (BID) e inversores privados est√°n desarrollando un proyecto piloto para producir hidr√≥geno utilizando energ√≠a renovable para alimentar camiones y autobuses, y para apoyar la electricidad verde a trav√©s del almacenamiento. Esto se alinea con el objetivo del gobierno de alcanzar el 100 por ciento de renovables para 2030. Se elabor√≥ una hoja de ruta integral promulgada en 2010 con objetivos claros e hitos espec√≠ficos que incluye la colaboraci√≥n activa de los diversos organismos p√ļblicos con funciones espec√≠ficas para alcanzar la meta. La pol√≠tica tambi√©n exige reglamentos y normas que promuevan el uso de las energ√≠as renovables en todos los sectores de la econom√≠a, lo que convierte a Uruguay en un l√≠der en materia de energ√≠a renovable en el Cono Sur. La inclusi√≥n de los sectores energ√©ticos tradicionales en el proyecto piloto de hidr√≥geno podr√≠a ayudar al pa√≠s a alcanzar su objetivo de descarbonizaci√≥n antes de lo previsto.

Como subraya el ejemplo del Uruguay, las pol√≠ticas bien elaboradas y la aplicaci√≥n satisfactoria de los reglamentos son esenciales para atraer inversiones extranjeras y nacionales. Se dispone de la tecnolog√≠a y los recursos necesarios para producir hidr√≥geno limpio. La fabricaci√≥n a escala para lograr la rentabilidad ya se est√° llevando a cabo gracias a los programas de promoci√≥n del hidr√≥geno en todo el mundo. El perfil de inversi√≥n actual y las cantidades en alza para la energ√≠a renovable han mostrado a los numeroso actores y protagonistas ‚Äďdesde Wall Street hasta agencias multilaterales y bancos locales e internacionales‚Äď dispuestos a invertir en tecnolog√≠as renovables, como lo demuestra en particular la escala de los niveles de despliegue de la energ√≠a e√≥lica y solar. Adem√°s, la capacidad potencial de las empresas de petr√≥leo y gas para producir y suministrar hidr√≥geno deber√≠a facilitar y acelerar su adopci√≥n en Am√©rica Latina.

Los gobiernos de toda la región también deberían considerar la posibilidad de participar directamente en el mercado del hidrógeno limpio. Al servir como clientes, los gobiernos pueden seguir apoyando y desarrollando una masa crítica para una rápida adopción mediante la inversión y la modernización de la infraestructura de transporte del Estado. Además, los gobiernos deberían considerar la posibilidad de ofrecer incentivos fiscales a la industria pesada y a los proveedores tradicionales de combustible para que adopten la tecnología. Las lecciones aprendidas del desarrollo de programas exitosos de energía renovable deberían inspirar la voluntad política de hacer del hidrógeno limpio el siguiente eslabón de la cadena para lograr economías de cero carbono para esta generación en toda América Latina.

La crisis originada por la pandemia de Covid-19, junto con la persistente amenaza del cambio climático, hacen que el hidrógeno limpio se perfile como una posible solución para la recuperación energética y económica de la región.

Collaborative Clean Energy Innovation for Economic Recovery

Collaborative Clean Energy Innovation for Economic Recovery

This article was first posted at Mexico Business

By Leonardo Beltr√°n | Fri, 12/11/2020

 

Leonardo Beltran MBN


Leonardo Beltr√°n
Non-resident Fellow
Institute of the Americas

If we were to define 2020 with a single word, most probably it would be ‚Äúpandemic.‚ÄĚ In fact, a couple of weeks ago, Merriam-Webster announced pandemic as its 2020 word of the year, based upon a statistical analysis of words that are looked up in extremely high numbers in its online dictionary. Undeniably the pandemic has brought a full array of innovations to our society ‚Äď in business models, policy, regulation, and technology ‚Äď and although the pandemic has forced us to physically distance ourselves, it has also brought us socially closer to face the new global challenges together. Consequently, if there is a single lesson to be extracted from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the power of collaboration.

Earlier this year, the US government launched an initiative called Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a public-private partnership with the goal ‚Äúto produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines, with the initial doses available by January 2021.‚ÄĚ OWS invested and coordinated efforts to develop diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines; protocols for the demonstration of safety and efficacy were aligned, which allowed a faster process for trials, and stages proceeded simultaneously. That is one of the reasons why manufacturing of the vaccine on an industrial scale started well before the demonstration of vaccine efficacy and safety as typically happens. In fact, the financial risk increased for the firms, but given a shortened amount of time spent in the regulatory process, start-up funding for research and development, and a secure demand at scale, it drew the participation of several companies. Finally, on Nov. 30, 2020, Moderna, a US company and one of the Top 14 candidates of the 100-plus in development, was the first company to announce plans to request Emergency Use Authorization from the US and other international regulatory agencies for the use of their vaccine (effectiveness of 94% based on its trials), galvanizing the road to the long-expected control and eradication of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lesson from the health sector is not unusual in other sectors. In the energy sector, collaboration is fundamental. Also on Nov. 30, but five years ago, the leaders of 20 leading countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the UK and Northern Ireland, the UAE, and the US), in an effort to speed up action toward climate mitigation decided to join forces in an international voluntary initiative called Mission Innovation (MI), with the purpose of doubling their research and development (R&D) expenditure on clean energy innovation by 2020. Today, the results demonstrate the power of collaborative action. Two of the main results were: 1) the mobilization of an additional annual public expenditure of US$4.9 billion in investments, and 2) international collaboration worth US$1.4 billion in funding to support the development of 1,000 innovations with the potential to avoid 12 CO2 gigatons per year by 2030 if fully deployed, in addition to a number of international publications and events to raise awareness of the potential of energy innovation.

Thus, collaborative clean energy innovation is not only expanding, it is gaining momentum. At the 5th MI ministerial meeting, its members decided to launch a second phase focused on two priorities: 1) an enhanced innovation platform to strengthen the innovation ecosystem and to accelerate learning, and 2) new public-private innovation alliances that can lead to tipping points in the cost, scale, availability, and attractiveness of clean energy solutions.

Moreover, in his Plan for A Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice, US President-elect Joe Biden stated that his administration will work with MI participating countries to reset the effort on a more ambitious track. That includes quadrupling the originally committed financial resources to help support R&D and unleash innovation in academia; enhance cooperation with private sector entrepreneurs; and help other countries build their institutional R&D capabilities to ensure increased funding is spent most effectively.

In that spirit, next year’s policy agenda in Mexico would benefit from strengthening and enhancing its bilateral and multilateral engagement to take advantage of the momentum of a renewed international collaborative clean energy innovation push. This international momentum can become a bridge builder for economic recovery and the fastest route to deep decarbonization.

The potential benefits of this path for Mexico are multiple, for the academic community would continue to open opportunities for strengthening and expanding their networks and contribution to the clean energy innovation value chain, by taking advantage of new sources of funding to optimize the use of their existing R&D infrastructure and capabilities, and continue attracting and retaining a pool of talent eager to work on renewable energy technology; for the private sector, it would continue to provide novel products to incursion in new markets and complement existing trains of production; and for the public sector, there is at least a fourfold opportunity: 1) stimulate the economy by catalyzing the creation of startups, along with the associated prospects for job creation; 2) strengthening their fiscal position with the expansion of new sources of revenue, along with the fortification of the domestic market by supporting regional development in areas where innovation clusters would emerge; 3) a much more cost-effective pathway to meet its climate goals, by investing in talent and R&D with multiplied returns in innovation resulting from the bridge built by collaborative clean energy innovation; and 4) the opportunity to diversify and expand the focus of Mexico-US bilateral cooperation from mostly security items to a denser and richer agenda that includes economic, environmental and scientific priorities. Therefore, clean energy innovation should be part of Mexico¬īs 2021 agenda.

(more…)

Looking for Jobs in Latin America ‚Äď Can the Energy Transition Help?

This article was first published at IPS News Sep 22 2020

By Rene Roger Tissot

 

Itaipu hydroelectric power station

Itaipu, the largest hydroelectric power station in the Americas, shared by Brazil and Paraguay on their Paran√° river border. Credit: Mario Osava / IPS

 

VERNON, Canada, Sep 22 2020 (IPS) – Can the ‚Äúenergy transition‚ÄĚ in Latin America help address¬†the risks caused by greenhouse gases (GHG) on the climate, and the economic depression caused by the pandemic?

Energy transition refers to the shift from fossil-based systems of energy production and consumption ‚ÄĒ including oil, natural gas, and coal ‚ÄĒ to renewable energy (RE) sources like wind and solar, etc. Proponents of investments in RE highlight investments‚Äô impacts on jobs and industrialization opportunities. (more…)

Investing in the ‚ÄėHidden Fuel‚Äô the Smartest Alternative

By Leonardo Beltr√°n | Tue, 09/15/2020 – 18:18

 

Leonardo Beltran MBN


Leonardo Beltr√°n
Non-resident Fellow
Institute of the Americas

In its April 30 edition, The Economist published an article with the headline, ‚ÄúThe 90% economy ‚Äď Life after lockdowns,‚ÄĚ which basically reflected on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic would have on the world economy. Last month, the Mexican Central Bank (Banxico) in its latest report (Apr-Jun 2020) presented three scenarios assessing the toll of the health crisis on the Mexican economy, which averaged 11 percent contraction in GDP for 2020. One of the main components contributing to this decline in the economy is mobility. Using Google COVID-19 Community Mobility Report data, Banxico calculated that for every 1% reduction in mobility in Mexico, there was a reduction of 0.49 percent in manufacturing activity and 0.60 percent in retail sales. Moreover, in Google‚Äôs Aug. 25 Mobility Report, data showed a contraction of 42 percent in the use of public transport and 35 percent in transfers to workplaces in the country. However hard these actions were, according to national and international experience, social confinement and mobility restriction have proven to be among the most effective policies to contain the expansion of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Although in the short to medium term mobility will slowly resume, the 90 percent economy has forced businesses to downscale and prioritize their virtual interactions over physical presence, thus speeding up the process of digitalization and automation, which in turn most likely will result in an overall global reduction in mobility.

Indeed, this forced push towards a more efficient mobility model certainly includes both impact and opportunity. For instance, transport and logistics, one of the most affected sectors even before the pandemic, was starting to see a toll. Air transport was observing a wave of consolidations, not only because of tighter regulations to comply with new environmental standards (airlines have to develop projects to compensate their emissions), but also because more environmentally conscious customers along with the emergence of the flygskam (flight-shaming) movement have affected demand, resulting in low to zero profitability for some airlines, especially the low-cost carriers. However, this trend is not only seen in airlines but in transport in general, thus to survive and thrive in a 90 percent economy, with lower structural demand and more stringent environmental regulations, this industry will have to embrace an energy efficient and sustainable way of doing business; in fact, data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows an increasing trend toward digital hailing applications. Between the last quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of this year, the number of users more than doubled. Today, there are more than 1.2 billion users worldwide and the number of drivers almost tripled to reach 67.6 million; in other words, the future of mobility includes digital and sustainable mobility.
On the other hand, manufacturing has also been experiencing ups and downs and although the trend in Mexico has been downward since mid-2018, the implementation of restrictions on production related to non-priority activities because of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in one of the most acute falls in the recent history of this sector. Both in April and May of this year, activity contracted 35.5% compared to 2019. Yet, once these measures start to be lifted, manufacturing activity will gradually pick up. However, some of the associated companies and jobs would have been lost to the pandemic. In any case, the consolidated sector also will have to incorporate a smarter business model to adapt to the new normal.

The question, then, is where might you identify the investment opportunities? It definitely should be an area where by investing, the business would become more competitive, either by reducing costs and/or increasing productivity. In fact, the most promising alternative is to invest in energy efficiency, or as the International Energy Agency (IEA) has referred to it: the hidden fuel. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization has documented that organizations implementing energy management systems (EnMS) achieve reductions in energy consumption of up to 30 percent. Using data from the Latin American Energy Organization, in the Latin America and Caribbean region, industry represents 31 percent of total final energy consumption and 16 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Mexico, industry’s total final energy consumption is a little bit higher, 34 percent, and contributes with 17.5 percent of GHG emissions. Assuming that in Mexico the results observed internationally are replicated, if we fully adopt EnMS across the industrial sector, we could achieve savings of US$3.9 billion per year, while cutting industrial GHG emissions in half.

If we are to see a better recovery, i.e. reducing our environmental footprint, recuperating jobs lost and creating permanent quality jobs, while improving competitiveness in production, the smartest alternative for industry is to invest in the hidden fuel. This will free resources otherwise spent on the cost of production, allowing businesses to expand operations or open new business lines that can stimulate economic and regional development, while at the same time, following a deep decarbonization pathway.

(more…)

Mexico’s Fuels Market and a “Double Whammy”

Mexico’s Fuels Market and a “Double Whammy”

This article was first published by the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute

Jeremy Martin on March 30

Despite photos of the president hugging babies and shaking scores of hands across the country, Mexico is not immune to the double whammy hitting major economies and energy markets: low oil prices and demand destruction due to the coronavirus. Indeed, for Mexico there may actually be a quintuple whammy if you layer on top of the two global trends three more particular ones at home: a recession and spiraling peso, plummeting oil production, and a massively indebted and fiscally imbalanced national oil company in Pemex. (more…)

IOA Briefs New Energy Policy Makers in El Salvador and Shares Regional Renewables Insights at Conference

IOA Briefs New Energy Policy Makers in El Salvador and Shares Regional Renewables Insights at Conference

PRESENTATION

 

At the end of July, Institute of the Americas Energy Transition Initiative Director, Cecilia Aguillon visited El Salvador for strategic energy policy conversations and to participate in, the Salvadoran Association of Engineers and Architects ASIA Week 2019, “90 years of ASIA: El Salvador towards sustainable development.

Cecilia Aguillon was a featured speaker at ASIA 2019. During her keynote presentation, Aguillon spoke about the IOA’s work on energy transition issues and shared her insights on renewable energy markets in the Americas. Her remarks and presentation focused on best practices and lessons learned from renewable energy market leaders in the Americas such as California, Brazil and México.

Aguillon also joined a panel discussion with Valdemar Saravia, member of the board of directors of the regulatory authority SIGET and vice president of ASIA; Silvia Vides, Director of the UNDP for El Salvador; Victor Ventura, Chief of Energy and Natural Resources Unit at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America in Mexico; and Herbert Palacios of the El Salvador¬īs National Energy Council. The panel featured a robust discussion centered around the opportunities and challenges of making energy policies, energy efficiency and renewable energy more accessible to people from all socio-economic sectors of El Salvador.

During her time in El Salvador, Aguillon took the opportunity to meet with newly appointed Director of the National Energy Council, Salvador Handal and the new Superintendent of the Regulatory authority SIGET, Manuel Aguilar. The meetings with these officials proved an important complement to her remarks and presentation at the conference and are crucial for maintaining the close relationship the Institute of the Americas has enjoyed with energy policymakers in El Salvador.