01 August 2018 |Quito, Ecuador
As part of its regional engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean, IRENA recently held a workshop, in cooperation with the Latin American Energy Organisation (OLADE), on Renewable Energy Deployment in Latin America. The workshop took place in the framework of the OLADE Experts Meeting, and brought together renewable energy policymakers, regulators, regional institutions and development partners.
Discussions centred on the key trends in the renewables sector in the region, with participants exchanging country experiences on renewable energy policy, regulation, and finance. Panel sessions focused on opportunities for accelerating the energy transformation in Latin America, renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs), and project development. To complement these sessions, IRENA presented a range of its tools and analytical products, including its PPA assessment model and project facilitation platform.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to review potential areas of further collaboration between the Agency and countries in Latin America. In this context, IRENA shared a set of possible activities for future implementation related to long-term power sector planning, REmap studies, power system flexibility, enabling policy and regulation, project development and finance, geothermal energy, and on IRENA’s Clean Energy Corridor of Central America (CECCA) initiative.
The workshop kicked-off with opening remarks from Mauro Intriago, Vice Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy of Ecuador, Alfonso Blanco, Executive Secretary of OLADE, and Gurbuz Gonul, Acting Director of IRENA’s Country Support and Partnerships Division.
The first panel session ‘Renewable Energy in Latin America’ highlighted many of the emerging trends in the renewables sector throughout the region. Several countries, including Argentina, Costa Rica and Uruguay, emphasized the importance of enabling policy and regulatory frameworks to overcome barriers to project deployment. At the same time, ECLAC and GIZ underlined the need for strengthening regional coordination and cooperation between countries, development partners and regional institutions, especially to support energy market integration. Throughout the discussion, the following points were raised:
The session ‘Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreements’ began with an introduction to IRENA’s PPA assessment tool, with panellists discussing some of the main issues impacting the design and implementation of current solar and wind energy PPAs in Latin America. Both El Salvador and Panama noted that new regulation and power market rules are often necessary to improve PPA structures for variable renewable technologies, while OLADE underlined that PPA designs are often outdated and reflect conventional generation sources. Over the course of the panel discussion, the following issues were highlighted:
The final panel session ‘Renewable Energy Project Development and Finance’ focused on challenges to developing renewable energy projects in Latin America, as well as many of the common barriers to increasing financing flows towards projects. After an overview of IRENA’s project facilitation support tools, the panel examined some of the key practices for improving access to finance, market visibility and project quality. Both Chile and the IDB suggested that project facilitation support is critical to help lenders build stronger project portfolios and for developers to obtain financing more efficiently. Some of the main messages from the panel discussion included: