Still no clarity on the elimination of fuel subsidies; Exports rise sharply; Power company is adding more solar; Big orchid discounts at Uzhupud Garden

Jun 11, 2024 | 0 comments

Lunes, 10/6/2024

Hola, Todos –

Titular –

Energía solar para alumbrado público (Solar power for street lighting) – The Empresa Eléctrica Regional Centro Sur (EERCS – Electric Company) will install solar powered LED street lighting in Auzay and Morona Santiago Provinces starting at the end of junio, 2024. This pilot plan seeks to promote sustainibility, energy efficiency, and fulfil a promise for social-environmental responsibility. The initiative is also to motivate the reduction of greenhouse gases. The LED lamps are known as “all in one” and contain a fotovoltaic panel and batteries to store the energy. The areas that will get this lighting are the parque El Paraíso, a stretch of the linear park along av. 1° de Mayo, and various sports fields. The goal of EERCS is to create a precedent for future green infrastructure in the country as well as to facilitate night time activities without the need to build new electrical networks.

Uzhupud Garden is hosting a giant orchid sale. The resort is owned by Ecuagenera in Gualaceo, the world’s largest orchid farm. (El Mercurio)

Currently, EERCS has 112 solar panels of 250 peak watts covering 187.2 sq. meters on the cover of the 8th floor of its main building on av. Max Uhle. The system has provided an average of 4.5% of rhe building’s energy needs since it was installed in diciembre, 2013. <Doesn’t that sound low? Would that really be worth the cost of the panels?> According to Patricio Serrano, an electrical engineer and renewable energy consultant, solar energy should be taken advantage of by the State which should also incentivize the population to opt for this option.

The power is available for all, but not everyone takes advantage of it for lack of funds or lack of knowledge. He said that currently 92% of electrical power is produced in hydroelectric plants which use water. When water is scarce, outages happen. <Mother Nature gave us a demonstration of that recently.> Mónica Salgado, a professor and environmental engineer, said solar energy in Ecuador is very elevated due to its geographical location since there are high levels of radiation almost all year around. There are also systems that don’t need intense sun to function. The Instituto de Investigación Geológico y Energético (IIGE) has prepared a solar map where you can see the distribution of solar radiation in the country. <I think about living in this little “3d world” country that’s not just “talking the talk,” but “walking the walk” with renewable energy and am so happy to be here.>

Actualidad –

La exportación de productos no tradicionales aumenta hasta en un 400% en el país (Exports of non-traditional products increase up to 400% in the country) – Exportation of non-traditional Ecuadorian products increased up to 400% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. Fish oil, sent to markets such as France, Colombia, Chile, Belgium, and Perú topped the list with an increase of 429.1% with total value of $12 million. Fish meal exports increased by 149.5% to a total value of $34 million. This went mostly to China, Japan and Vietnam. <I wonder if fish meal comes back to Ecuador in some kind of processed form? Like surimi?> Balsa rose 83.1% for a value of $32 million and went to China and Poland. Metal fabrications rose 21.4% with a value of $94 million and was exported to the US, Colombia and Peru. Banana products increased by 15.7% for a total of $56 million and were sent to the US, Low Countries and Spain. <Is there a big market for chifles in those countries?>

Tecnología –

De El Mercurio del domingo, 9/6 (1 article):
Cuatro apps gratis para identificar plantas y flores con el celular (Four free apps to identify plants and flowers with your cell phone) – <This is for all of you wannabe botonists.> These 4 apps will use your camera to give you information about plants, flowers and trees as well as their environment, care, and details.

PlantNet is the most popular plant identification app on Play Store with the most scientific value. The project was developed by different scientific groups. It compares the photo with images in an immense botanical data base.

PictureThis is the most easy to use with the most downloads from Play Store. It will give you information and advice about caring for the plant and what other plants you can put with it if your interest is in gardening or growing vegetables.
Flora Incognita will identify a plant and give you additional information about the fundamental characteristics of the plant, how to propogate it, and if it is in danger of extinction.

LeafSnap is maybe the most valuable app, partly due to its minimalist design and easy functioning for caring for cactus.
All are free for Anroid and iOS. <It would be nice if the apps tell you “Do NOT eat this plant even though the fruit looks so pretty. You have 15 minutes to get to a poison center.”>

Nacional –

De El Mercurio del domingo, 9/6 (1 article):
Subsidios a combustibles, aún sin claridad ni debate (Fuel subsidies, still without clarity or debate) – There is a deadline, but still no date. Eliminating fuel subsidies was one of the promises to the IMF, and the Government is looking to eliminate the $.58 and $.80 subsidies on extra and ecopaís gas which would bring their prices up to $3.04 and $3.26. Noboa has rejected touching the subsidies on gas but says diesel subsidies will be phased out later. On the table are statistics, debates, arguments, but still few certainties.

One of the initiatives from the Government is to work on a plan to help taxis, camionetas (pick-ups – the mixtos?) and motos. It prefers to talk about compensation rather than focalization. One plan is to deliver compensation to the taxi unions by deposits into bank accounts for the difference between the new price and the current price which includes the subsidy. Esteban Torres, Government vice-minister, said that the compensation costs would be between $100 & $150 million. But there still is no actual technical data, just reference numbers from a data base that was revised during Lasso’s administration. According to census data, there are 1.2 million private, light vehicles and 800,000 motorcycles. Of those 1.2 million private cars, about 30,000 are high-end vehicles using súper, the high-octane gas. The Government budgeted $630 million for extra and ecopaís gas subsidies and the plan is to give $100 million in compensation to taxis, pick-ups, and motos.

The Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (Conaie) met in Quito yesterday. It started with a clear message – Conaie had not received any invitation from the Government to the dialogues with political and social sectors about the elimination of subsidies. <Maybe because everyone already knows what Conaie’s position is?> Leonidas Iza, president of Conaie, said that there are social sectors that have not rejected protests in the coming days. However, they are still confident that they will sit down at the table for a dialogue with the Government where a formulation for focalization that prevents a strong impact on the economy will be presented.

Descuentos y compras –

Open house Orchid Fest with big discounts – Uzhupud Garden (Km. 32 vía Cuenca, Paute, Sector La Higuera) & Ecuagenera Gualaceo (Sector Llampasay Km. 2 vía Call Cuenca, Gualaceo) – Junio 14 to 25 from 9 am to 7 pm – for more info, call 099 120 0774 or go to www.ecuagenera.net.

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –

Jeanne
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Editor’s note: Jeanne’s Periodico is a translated digest of news from the Cuenca daily newspaper El Mercurio. If details, such as event dates and times, do not appear in the translation, they did not appear in the newspaper (please don’t ask her for them). If information is incorrect, it is the responsibility of El Mercurio. The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.

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