By Cecilia Aguillon
Cecilia Aguillon is Director of the Energy Transition Initiative at the Institute of the Americas in La Jolla, California
The Providencia Solar company, El Salvador. Latin America counts some of the globe’s most abundant and cost competitive renewable energy resources including hydroelectricity, solar, and wind. Credit: Edgardo Ayala / IPS
LA JOLLA, California, Jun 22 2020 (IPS)
The COVID-19 pandemic and crisis has led to increasing attention and clamor to redouble efforts toward an energy transition that would help the world reduce C02 emissions. In many countries of the region, how to manage hydrocarbons, but with an eye on the energy transition has only been accentuated. We believe clean hydrogen is part of that broader policy and reconstruction debate.
Clean hydrogen markets can be a key part of the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerate the decarbonization of Latin America’s electricity and transportation sectors, attract investment and create jobs. Indeed, the possibilities for oil and gas companies to produce and deliver hydrogen should facilitate and accelerate its adoption in Latin America particularly when combined with the region’s considerable renewable energy upside. (more…)
A major public policy debate is underway in Mexico over the role of clean energy for the country’s power market. There are major ramifications for Mexico’s economy and its climate goals. The Lopez Obrador administration has been aggressively pushing to revise the regulatory and investment framework for renewables in Mexico for months, but has ramped up their efforts since late April. Recent delays of approved projects and the prioritizing of state power firm CFE and the use of hydrocarbons to generate electricity have set off heated debate and legal challenges, and led to great uncertainty in Mexico’s power sector.
To further the discussion of clean energy in Mexico and to address the issues at the core of the government’s oppositional posture, we are pleased to launch this new webinar series.
The series will draw upon the expertise of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center and its decades of experience fostering high-level research and efforts to inform public policy with the experience and reach of the Institute of the Americas to shape and inform public policy surrounding energy and environment in Latin America and deep experience in Mexico.
Our jointly-published paper “The Economic and Strategic Arguments for Renewable Energy in Mexico,” authored by lawyer and policy expert John McNeece, will anchor our discussions. The paper and its rigorous analysis will set the stage for a high-level policy debate, through a series of webinar presentations, that will address the issues set forth by the administration and discuss the future of clean energy in Mexico. John McNeece will kick-off the series on June 11 with a presentation based upon his report.
The Clean Energy in Mexico webinar series will provide a research-based platform for further analysis and discussion of these critical issues with the objective of informing and shaping the public policy debate.
The month of May at the Institute of the Americas is synonymous with our annual La Jolla Energy Conference. This year, as most of you know, meant the Virtual La Jolla Conference. We were very pleased to be able to pivot and host our XXIX La Jolla Conference online. The virtual platform allowed for a weeklong program accessible by a far greater number of attendees from across the hemisphere and globe.
We were extremely pleased with the topics, panels, level of discussion and high-level of engagement from the online attendees. We know that the move to an online event eliminated many of the La Jolla Conference’s most cherished elements, but we would like to thank our panelists, speakers, partners and participants for ensuring that our focus on high-level policy and investment discourse in a relaxed and friendly setting was alive and well.
We were also pleased to publish two reports in advance of the La Jolla Conference in an effort to foster dialogue on cross-cutting issues of natural gas and LNG, but also an excellent and rigorous analysis of the economic arguments and technical elements associated with renewable energy deployment in Mexico.
Despite the online setting, we feel this year’s discussions again served to foster high-level public-private dialogue on the future of the hemisphere’s energy sector, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and global oil price shock. The La Jolla Conference remains the linchpin for the Institute of the Americas objective of serving as an honest broker of policy and investment debates surrounding the hemisphere’s most critical energy and sustainability issues, whether online or, hopefully again soon, through our in-person events.
Stay tuned for our La Jolla Conference report. In the meantime, check out the recordings from many of the sessions, as well as the plethora of articles and media stories derived from discussions at the Virtual La Jolla Conference.
Clean energy in Mexico will be the topic for our next major webinar series, in collaboration with the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center. The series will launch on June 11 with John McNeece presenting a summary of our jointly-published paper “The Economic and Strategic Arguments for Renewable Energy in Mexico.” Mexico’s power sector was also the theme of Jeremy Martin’s commentary written for the Inter-American Dialogue Energy Advisor Newsletter.
Prior to the Virtual La Jolla Conference, we concluded our Critical Minerals and the Energy Transition webinar series in collaboration with the Payne Institute with a presentation by Nedal Nassar from the US Geological Survey and discussion of managing risk in critical mineral supply chains.
Mineral commodities play a vital role in the energy sector and that role will certainly increase with the transition to renewable energy technologies. Yet, as the COVID-19 pandemic has painfully highlighted, global supply chains of mineral commodities are susceptible to supply disruptions.
In a recently published article, Nedal Nassar and colleagues examine the risk of a mineral commodity supply disruption to the manufacturing sector in the United States. They identify a subset of commodities, including cobalt, tungsten, and the rare-earth elements, whose supply disruption poses the greatest risk.
This analysis will be the focus of the next installment of the joint Institute of the Americas and Payne Institute for Public Policy “Critical Minerals and the Energy Transition” webinar series.