Latest News

News  |  ECPA Newsletter

2020

November

Making Energy More Democratic

As energy becomes more decentralized—as close to home as solar panels on the roof—the opportunity is there for it to become more democratic too. What does energy democracy look like? It’s often tied to renewables, but it’s about a lot more than that. Read more

 

 

October

Electric Buses Hit the Road in Barbados

With 33 brand-new electric buses now crisscrossing the island, Barbados is moving full speed ahead in modernizing its public transit fleet and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Passengers love the fringe benefits—for starters, the buses are air conditioned—but they are still getting used to one big change: the absence of noise. Read more

 

Big Opportunities on a Small Scale

Natural gas has some clear advantages over diesel or heavy fuel oil—it’s cleaner to burn and less expensive—but it has not always been a practical option for small countries. That is changing. Innovations in technology, advances in logistics, investments in infrastructure, and strong market forces mean that liquefied natural gas (LNG) can now be economically viable on a very small scale, opening up new prospects for power generation, transportation, and industry in Central America and the Caribbean. Read more

September

Chile Goes for Green Hydrogen

As countries around the world scramble to lower their carbon emissions, many are looking to green hydrogen—in other words, hydrogen produced using renewable energy—to help them meet their goals. One country that believes it is especially well positioned to be a major player in that market is Chile. Energy Minister Juan Carlos Jobet has encouraged the country to “think big” about Chile’s prospects as a producer and exporter of green hydrogen. Read more

Expanding Synergy on Energy

The region’s energy future rests on investment and innovation from the private sector—along with smart policies and regulations from governments. Beginning this month, a new Public-Private Sector Dialogue Series will seek to expand that synergy and strengthen the foundation for energy development and growth. Read more

August

Sustainability Still on the Radar for Aviation

For the past decade, before Covid-19 brought aviation to a near standstill, growth in air travel had been soaring, bringing with it a rise in CO2 emissions. The industry was taking steps to become more efficient and reduce its carbon footprint, and a landmark carbon offset plan was established for international air travel. Although today’s economic turbulence has led to an adjustment of that plan, the industry is still on a trajectory to become more sustainable, according to one veteran aviation expert. Read more

Charging Ahead with EVs

The road trip is a classic theme in U.S. popular culture and a staple of the summer vacation—a chance to recharge the batteries. For owners of electric vehicles (EVs), that’s not just a metaphor. Far from their usual home or work plug-in sites, they consult apps and map out routes that will get them to the next charging station down the road. The fear of running out of charge—range anxiety—has always been a barrier to EV adoption, especially in a country as big as the United States. But as longer-range electric vehicles come on the market and the charging infrastructure ramps up, that may be starting to change. Read more

July

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. Read more

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. Read more


June

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. Read more


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. Read more

May

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. Read more

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. Read more

April

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. Read more

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. Read more

 


 

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. Read more

March

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.” Read more  

The Power of Interconnectedness

Now that the end is in sight for resolving the territorial differendum between Guatemala and Belize, could it be time for the two countries to think about an electricity interconnection? At the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), Guatemala said it would like to sit down with its neighbor and talk about it. Read more


Building Resilience—at a Price

What does it mean to build resilient infrastructure—and who’s going to pay for it? On the sidelines of the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA), representatives of the public and private sector talked about how to make the region’s energy systems less vulnerable to disruption and better prepared for contingencies. Read more

Haiti Sets Out to Electrify the Country

The vast majority of people in Latin America and the Caribbean—over 96% of them, according to most estimates—have access to electricity. In some corners of the region, it may not yet be as reliable, affordable, sustainable, or modern as it should be, but as a rule, people can turn on the lights. That is not the case for most people in Haiti. With 60% to 70% of the population still without electricity, the government is pursuing an “aggressive” strategy to overhaul the power sector and improve access and quality throughout the country. Read more

February

Rising to the Resilience Challenge

When ministers of energy from around the Americas descend on Jamaica this week, they will find a country that has set its sights on a more climate-resilient future. What does that mean, in a region so often in the path of hurricanes? It’s about much more than hardening the grid, says Fayval Williams, Jamaica’s Minister of Energy, Science and Technology. Read more


E-Mobility and Energy Resilience in the Caribbean

Just in time for the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA)—coming up this week in Montego Bay, Jamaica—two new reports examine prospects for increased energy resilience and growth in electric mobility in the Caribbean region. Read more

January

Countdown to the ECPA Ministerial—and to 2030

With only 10 years to go to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals—including the goal to ensure access to “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”—energy ministers from around the Americas will meet in Jamaica next month to look at some of the obstacles and opportunities ahead. Read more

 

2019

December

Natural Gas: Making Power Systems more Flexible

Power systems are changing rapidly due to a confluence of technologic, social, meteorological and business drivers. These changes are highlighting the need for flexibility and resilience in energy systems. This is seen clearly in South American countries that have traditionally relied on hydropower and are experiencing strong growth in wind and solar. On December 13, the last in the series of ECPA Ministerial Dialogues will look at the role of natural gas in a rapidly changing energy market. Read more.

Electric Mobility: Full Speed into the Future

No question, petroleum still rules the road. In most places, electric vehicles make up a miniscule percentage of cars and buses in circulation today. But several experts who spoke at the ECPA Ministerial Dialogue on Electric Mobility in the Americas said that changes are already underway—not just in the vehicles people drive but in the very way they think about mobility. Read More

Gender and Energy: Bringing All Hands on Deck

Expanding the use of renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, becoming more energy-resilient, making electricity more affordable and accessible—these are big challenges that require all-hands-on-deck teamwork. Yet too often, women aren’t even on the team. During this ECPA Dialogue several women in the energy sector talked about how to improve the dismal statistics and increase gender diversity in this traditionally male-dominated industry. Read More

Urban Resilience: Strengthening Survival Skills

How can cities and towns become better prepared for natural disasters? How can they mitigate the potential damage? What can they do to speed up recovery if the worst happens? How can they help their populations adapt to growing threats? What role do education and culture play? These are the types of questions panelists tackled at the ECPA Ministerial Dialogue on Urban Resilience. Read More

 

November

It's Official: Fourth ECPA Ministerial Launched

The Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA)—scheduled to take place on February 27-28, 2020, in Montego Bay, Jamaica—will focus on “Energy Resilience and Investment Opportunities.” It’s a theme that will resonate across the Americas, said Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Fayval Williams. Read more

A "Living Open-Air Classroom" on Renewable Energy

At a new urban park in the Dominican Republic, visitors can stroll in the sunshine, enjoy a fresh breeze, and soak up the sound of falling water—all while learning about how sun, wind, and water are converted into clean energy. The Renewable Energy Theme Park, which Dominican President Danilo Medina inaugurated on November 7, will serve as a “living open-air classroom,” as the project’s architect described it. Read more

Greening the Power Grid in the Dominican Republic

Most of the electric power generated in the Dominican Republic comes from fossil fuels, but investments in wind and solar energy are on the rise. The country’s commitment to produce 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 is “achievable,” said Deputy Energy Minister Ernesto Vilalta. Plus, there’s a growing role for natural gas. Read more

October

Building a Resilient Tourism Sector

For many countries in the Caribbean and beyond, tourism is a linchpin of the economy. But what happens when catastrophe hits, say in the form of a Category 5 hurricane? Increasingly, the watchword is resilience. The new Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, based in Jamaica, will look at how the industry can better prepare, manage, and recover from disruptions—not just natural disasters, but other major setbacks too. The question is, as Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett put it, “How ready are you to deal with the most extreme cases that may come your way?” Read more

Renewable Energy in Brazil: More than Dams 

Think of electric power generation in Brazil, and the first thing that comes to mind is probably a mega-dam. That makes sense—after all, two-thirds of the country’s electricity comes from hydroelectric power—but hydro is not the only renewable energy source in South America’s largest country. Wind power has taken off in recent years, and solar, though still a miniscule percentage of electricity production, has started to see exponential growth. Biomass also figures prominently in the renewable energy picture. Read more

 ECPA Ministerial Dialogue Series: Gender and Energy

In this dialogue, the issue of gender and energy will be discussed from two perspectives: access to energy and gender equality in the energy industry. Access to modern energy services enables economic prosperity. However, there is considerable gender inequality with regard to access to energy, thus putting women at an economic disadvantage. On the other hand, despite progress in women’s employment in the energy industry, in 2019 the EY Women in Power and Utilities Index reported that the representation of women in utility leadership remains “disappointingly low.” Participants will explore strategies to enhance women’s empowerment with regard to energy and to address the linkage between energy and gender. Read more

Fifth Annual Latin America Clean Transport Forum 

Mobility is being transformed around the world by technological innovations and new policy frameworks. New urban mobility models based on shared and autonomous driving, coupled with rapidly declining battery costs, are expected to lead to mass uptake of electric vehicles. Thanks to declining manufacturing costs and lower fuel and maintenance costs, electric buses and other vehicle fleets are already generally cheaper than conventional vehicles. Innovative policy tools, such as green taxes and the imposition of emissions-free zones in city centers, as well as commitments by global automakers to increase production of electric vehicles, are encouraging their uptake around the world. The transition to electric mobility is, in turn, leading to a spike in demand for lithium and copper, key elements for batteries. These global trends have profound implications for mobility in Chile and the rest of Latin America. 

September

The Bahamas Reeling from Dorian

The Bahamas has experienced many powerful storms over the years—even Category 5 hurricanes—but Dorian brought a new level of devastation. As search, rescue, and recovery operations were just getting underway, a Bahamian diplomat to the Organization of American States (OAS) reflected on the impact of the storm and the challenges ahead. Read More

Developing Credible Data on Air Quality

Good policy depends on good data. As cities and countries in the Americas tackle the problem of air pollution—a growing public health concern—they rely on air quality monitoring systems to measure how they’re doing. Through workshops co-sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS), experts who operate such systems throughout the region are strengthening their expertise and cooperation to ensure that those results are accurate, reliable, and credible. That’s especially important when air pollution reaches a crisis point—as it did in Mexico City in May of this year. Read More

Taking Electric Vehicles to a Higher Gear

Clean sources of electricity and predominantly urban populations make Latin America promising terrain for electric cars and buses. But so far, electric vehicles have picked up speed in only a few countries. Two upcoming events will discuss the potential for smarter, more sustainable transportation in the region and look at some of the roadblocks that still stand in the way. One problem? Consumers don’t have enough choices. Read More

August

The Sargassum Scourge

Say you’re settling in for a day at the beach: Sunblock? Check. Towels? Check. A good book? Check. Maybe some cold drinks, your favorite tunes, a lounge chair and umbrella? Perfect. Giant mounds of stinking seaweed? Not so much. But that’s the nasty surprise many beachgoers have encountered in recent years, as massive clusters of a brown macroalgae called sargassum have washed up on shore. Scientists point to a range of environmental factors as the possible culprit, and some think the seaweed invasion could mark a “new normal.” Read more.  

The Sargassum Opportunity

The tons of sargassum drifting ashore in the Caribbean in recent years have created big headaches for the tourism and fishing industries, but some entrepreneurs in the region see opportunity. That was the case with Johanan Dujon, who first noticed—and smelled—the piles of seaweed as he was driving along Saint Lucia’s east coast five years ago, when he was 21. “Why isn’t anybody doing anything?” he kept asking himself. The question eventually drove him to start a business.” Read more. 

ECPA Ministerial Dialogue Series

In preparation for the IV Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) Ministerial that will convene in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on February 27-28, 2020, the OAS will convene a series of Ministerial dialogues. The purpose of these events is to seek the input and advice of Permanent Missions, international development agencies, multilateral organizations, and the diplomatic corps at large headquartered in Washington as the delegations of the 34 OAS member States prepare to convene in Montego Bay. The first of this dialogue series will focus on electric mobility in the Americas in September. Read more.

July

Going Green at the OAS

Buildings are energy hogs. And when they date back more than a century, they have an especially voracious appetite for electricity, water, air conditioning, and heat. Mindful of the need both to be green and to save greenbacks, the Organization of American States (OAS) is working to cut energy use at its headquarters in Washington, D.C.—including in its famed House of the Americas. Read more.

  

Solar Power at the OAS Guyana Country Office

The expense of cooling and lighting the office will soon be minimal. The local electric utility, Guyana Power & Light (GPL), plans to install solar panels on the roof of the three-story building that the OAS and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) lease from the Guyana Ministry of Agriculture. Read more

 

 

June 

May

April

March

February

January

2018

December 

November

October

September

August

July

June 

May

April

March

February

January

2017

December

October/November

September

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

2016

December

November

October

September

August

July

June 

May

April

March

February

January

2015

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January