- Like most of the developing world, many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC ) find themselves at an early stage of energy transition. However, some countries have begun setting ambitious targets.
- Hydropower is the largest source of electricity generation in LAC, supplying 50% of power across the region as a whole in 2021. By 2030, wind and solar PV will greatly increase their generation by two- and four-fold, respectively, lessening but not eliminating the use of coal and oil power plants.
- Total green hydrogen capacity in LAC is likely to reach over 3 million tons per annum by 2030, with the majority of capacity in Chile.
The Latin America and the Caribbean region currently relies mainly on hydropower, gas, and oil for its electricity production needs. However, a large amount of wind and solar PV capacity is in the pipeline, which will reduce the region’s use of dirtier oil and coal powered generation. By 2030, onshore wind is expected to produce slightly more power than solar PV at 190 and 160 TWh across LAC. Brazil will be the largest wind power producer by a large margin, followed by Argentina, Chile, and Colombia. Brazil will be the largest wind power producer by a large margin, with over 100 TWh of onshore production, followed by Argentina, Chile, and Colombia. In solar PV, Brazil will again be the largest producer, followed by Chile and, more distantly, by Colombia and Argentina. In solar PV, Brazil will again be the largest producer, with nearly 90 TWh, followed by Chile and more distantly by Colombia and Argentina.
Electric mobility in LAC has gotten off to a slower start overall, but Chile and Colombia are global leaders in the rollout of electric buses. Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama also have ambitious electrification targets for public transportation while Chile, Costa Rica, and Panama are the only countries with light-duty EV sales targets.
As a region with vast biomass resources, renewable fuel production is picking up steam as well. Brazil has long been a global leader in ethanol production and use, but several renewable refineries are set to begin production of fuels like renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel across the region by the mid to late 2020s.
Green hydrogen is a burgeoning new sector that is set to take off by 2030, with a production capacity of three million tons per annum expected by that year. LAC’s excellent renewable resources are a major asset in allowing the production of cost-competitive green hydrogen. In particular, Chile’s northern deserts and windswept south could produce among the cheapest green hydrogen in the world. The majority of LAC’s upcoming capacity will be in Chile, with Brazil having a significant capacity as well.