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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Ecuador Ups its Electricity Exports

Ecuador is an oil-exporting country, of course, but lately it has been exporting clean energy too, thanks to a surplus of hydroelectric power. The country’s electricity sales to Colombia have been increasing, and plans are underway for a new high-voltage line connecting Ecuador and Peru. By 2024, says the head of Ecuador’s government-owned electric utility, an “electric transmission highway” will link these three Andean countries, marking a step toward a more integrated—and more resilient—electricity market in the region. Meanwhile, Ecuador is looking to increase its own resilience by diversifying its electricity grid.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Hurricane Planning with a Twist

For electric utilities that operate in Caribbean countries, planning for hurricanes is a year-round endeavor. Add Covid-19 into the mix, and things start to get even more complicated—especially since this year’s hurricane season is expected to bring “above-normal” activity.
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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Renewables as an Engine of Job Growth

The expansion of the renewable energy sector in recent years has spawned a growing number of jobs all along the value chain. That has many countries taking notice, as they look to restart their economies and put people back to work.
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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The Stimulating Effects of Clean Energy

Countries around the region have long understood that making a transition to clean energy and energy efficiency is critical if they hope to achieve their environmental goals and commitments. Now they are looking at another potential benefit of the energy transition—the role it could play in helping to stimulate a post-pandemic economic recovery.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Clearing the Air

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, residents of many of the world’s largest cities were experiencing some of the clearest skies they had seen in years. The decrease in air pollution—captured in striking before-and-after photos and satellite images—has been one of the rare positive side effects of the pandemic-related shutdowns. Experts in air quality from some of Latin America’s major urban areas talked recently about the effects of the sharp declines in traffic in their cities—and some of the problems that cannot be solved just by taking vehicles off the road.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Power of Flexibility

Solar and wind plants are springing up everywhere, but the electricity grid cannot always take maximum advantage of the clean energy they produce. As countries in the region ramp up their targets for renewables, they need to ensure that their power systems are flexible enough to accommodate ever-larger amounts of intermittent generation. That is doable—even 100% renewable energy is doable in some cases—but it will require governments to put new policies in place that reward flexibility, one energy company executive says; otherwise, a lot of that wind and solar will just go to waste.
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Friday, April 17, 2020

An Uncertain Energy Future

With a pandemic on the march, economies in near-paralysis, and a collapse in oil prices to boot, the energy sector is facing a new set of uncertainties. How might these factors shape the region’s long-term energy future? How will oil-exporting countries fare? Will the momentum for renewable energy falter? Are there new opportunities to improve resilience? These are just some of the questions experts from around the Americas have been tackling as they examine a world that has been upended in a matter of weeks.
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Friday, April 17, 2020

Electric Utilities Feel the Side Effects

No matter how many movies families watch in home isolation or how many hours they run their air conditioners, play their radios, or work on their computers, they will not use nearly as much electricity as a working factory or a bustling hotel. As a result, the widespread shutdown of commercial and industrial activity across the region has led to lower demand for electric power. This creates challenges for utilities—especially at a time when many of their customers will struggle to pay their electric bills.
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Friday, April 17, 2020

Keeping an Eye on the Long Term

Every economy in the world will feel the effects of Covid-19, but the pain will be especially acute in the Caribbean region, where the bottom has fallen out of the tourism market. Now is the time for governments to think big about how to make the region more resilient, one economist says.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Bringing Good Energy to the Region’s Energy Agenda

Diversification. Flexibility. Integration. Versatility. Nimbleness. These are just a few of the objectives that countries across the Americas are pursuing as they strive to become more energy-resilient and climate-smart. How best to do that was the focus of the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), held in Montego Bay, Jamaica—which for two days in February was, as Prime Minister Andrew Holness put it, “the most energetic place on Earth.”
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