Renewable energy in Latin America - Statistics & Facts

The necessity to shift the global energetic matrix towards the use of renewable sources is one of the most pressing topics of the 21st century. Renewable sources are defined as resources that can be naturally renewed within a human lifetime, and they include energy generated by sunlight, wind, wood residues, waves, and geothermal heat. Due to its favorable climate, vast geography and abundant natural resources, Latin America stands out as a major player in the development of renewable energy.

Latin American has recently shown promising signs of growth in the renewable energy sector. Over the past decade, the renewable energy capacity in the region has consistently grown, reaching 262 gigawatts in 2019. Wind power generation capacity has nearly quadrupled since 2013. Meanwhile, the capacity of solar photovoltaic energy generation increased by almost 100-fold in the past ten years.

Despite their growing importance, most Latin American countries still exhibit a considerable opportunity for development when it comes to renewable energy sources. In fact, renewable sources accounted for less than 17 percent of the primary energy supply in Mexico in 2018, and in Argentina, renewables comprised only 10 percent of primary energy generation that same year. Furthermore, countries like Brazil and Paraguay - which have the highest shares of renewables in domestic energy supply in the region – still heavily rely on large hydropower plants. The status of large hydropower as a renewable energy generation source, in turn, is under constant debate as a result of the high environmental impacts caused by their construction.

Even so, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico are some of the most attractive Latin American countries for renewable energy investments. In fact, clean energy investments in Argentina surpassed two billion U.S. dollars in 2018, up from less than 100 million dollars in 2015. The majority of foreign renewable energy investments in Latin America align with global trends, and focus on the development of wind and solar power.

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Renewable energy in Latin America

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