By Valerie Volcovici
Latin American countries have set a collective target of 70% renewable energy use by 2030, more than double what the European Union is planning.
Colombia, representing the pledges from eight Latin American countries, presented the target at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where world leaders were asked to deliver concrete proposals to combat climate change.
The plan is meant to put Colombia and seven others in leadership roles ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in Chile in December, energy minister Maria Fernanda Suarez said in an interview last week.
“It’s the most ambitious goal in terms of a global region. Right now nine countries in the region have agreed to this plan and we will continue to get more countries to be part of this goal ahead of the upcoming summit,” she said, noting the European Union has set a renewable energy target of 32%.
Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Colombia are part of the pact. Panama and Brazil are still weighing participation, Suarez said.
Colombia aims to contribute 4 gigawatts of renewable energy toward the 2030 regional goal of 312 gigawatts, Suarez said.
“The introduction of viable renewables, meaning hydro electric, wind, solar biomass or other clean energy, is the first priority,” she said.
Some 70 percent of Colombia electricity already comes from hydropower, but Colombia is focused on quickly ramping up the share from solar and wind to 9 percent by mid-2022, she added.
Among other Latin American countries, Ecuador is already at 100 percent renewable energy as seven new hydro-electric plants have gone into operation since 2015 and an eighth should begin power generation by 2021.
Peru’s renewable energy rate is approaching 85 percent.