Connecting the Americas: Advancing Partnerships for Action on Energy, the Environment and Infrastructure

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svc@oas.org
Connecting the Americas: Advancing Partnerships for Action on Energy, the Environment and Infrastructure

Questions

  1. What is the greatest challenge facing the expansion of renewable energies in your country?
  2. What are national and local governments and/or international organizations doing to promote greater access to clean energies in your country and communities?
  3. What are the basic conditions necessary to facilitate public-private partnerships to promote progress in the area of universal access to energy in the Americas? What role does civil society play in these efforts and how can they contribute to them?
  4. How does the establishment of intersectoral alliances help, at the national or regional level, in the implementation of more sustainable and energetically-efficient policies and standards? How do we move from dialogue to action?

 

Supporting Material

English
jmonticelli
jmonticelli's picture
Welcome
Dear all:

I would like to welcome you to this forum. My name is Juan Cruz Monticelli, Senior Energy Specialist at the Department of Sustainable Development of the Organization of American States, and I will be moderating the debates.

DoraLopez
Latinoamerica Renovable

Juan,

Thanks for opening this forum for debate. At Latinoamerica Renovable we are a team of Latin American Scientists working on renewable energy topics. It is great resource and hopefully you can share our link on the supporting material:

www.latinoamericarenovable.com

Best,

Dora

jmonticelli
jmonticelli's picture
Latinoamérica Renovable

Thank you, Dora. I will ask our colleagues at the Summits Office to include your link.

 

Juan Cruz

carolinavieira
contradiction
Brazil is a country with great capacity to generate renewable energy, due to its territorial dimension, the tropical climate and the vast amount of rivers and lakes. However, the discussion about renewable energy in the country only became an important issue in the last 20 years, when Brazil had to run after late acceleration of investment in the energy sector. Besides having to contain the pollution generated over the years specially pro produced by of energy of the petroleum, Brazil's mission is to bring people into the debate about renewable energy.

Unfortunately the social culture about the importance of clean energy is only part of the education of younger than 30 years. Although late, today we see that the issue of clean and renewable energy is treated as a theme school. I, who was student in the kindergarden in the 80s and I can remember the amazing classes about Brazil's ability to produce wind, solar and hydropower through. However,  we haven´t reached an ideal amount of investment in real generating capacity of wind and solar sources of clean and cheap energy production.

Currently, we see deeper discussions on the energy generated by biomass (source that uses organic waste, agricultural residues, wood chips or vegetable oil to produce energy), but we don´t bring the people to get to know the subject and discussions stays only between theorists and technicians.

 The situation is even more contradictory:  there are discussions about generating energies by even more modern sources, but the country hasn´t reached its potential for the production of solar and wind energy yet.

Carolina Vieira

Lawyer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

jmonticelli
jmonticelli's picture
RE: Contradiction

Dear Carolina,

Thank you for your comments. Looking at the world's and region's context, it seems that Brazil has done a pretty good work in expanding its renewable energy matrix. For instance, Europe is talking about a 20% RE matrix by 2020, whereas Brazil has gone over 40% with hydro, biofuels and wind. A lot remains to be done, but this seems like a good start. Do you agree?

Gabriel
Energy Show

Dear All,

I would like to share some initiatives that we are developing in southern Brazil, through the Information Technology Companies Association (ACATE):
- We organized the IT companies as its segment: ENERGY, sustainability, agribusiness, education, games, government, health, security, telecommunications, textiles, cloud computing and manufacturing.
- Entrepreneurs meet montly and develop projects together to achieve goals that they could not alone. Besides the entrepreneurs, we invite scientists, officials, etc;
- A practical example was the creation of "Energy Show", an annual event (we're in the second edition) created to discuss trends, present cases, raise discussions and engage the government, society, academia and companies on relevant topics, such as sustainable energy , smart cities, smart grid, electric system reliability, alternative energy sources, etc..
The event website is: www.energyshow.com.br (only in Portuguese).

The success of the first edition was great, and we had participants from several public companies for energy generation and distribution, national and international experts, industry professionals, students, teachers, businessmen...

Moreover, this group has been working in partnership with the Sustainability group to propose innovative solutions to problems in Florianópolis (capital of the state of Santa Catarina - Brazil). The pilot project will be in the public garbage collection company, called Comcap.

Several other iniviacitvas are ongoing, but let to another topic. Thank you and congratulations on the initiative of the forum!

 

 

 

jmonticelli
jmonticelli's picture
Initiatives

Dear Gabriel,

Thank you for sharing this information.

Juan Cruz

abe
my country

In reply to question one the greatest challenge is "man's" lack of love for the environment, half hearted efforts by government to create innovative ways to educate the population - environmental awaresess is lacking on a sustain basis

iEARNTnT
role of civil society

Civil Society always play a major role in creating awareness in what ever feild to network and create with private sector and governments, in seeking partnership for the betterment of the relevant project, we do however need more support from both private sector and governments 

Gabriel
About questions

Dear Juan,

after reviewing the materials suggested, I would like to expose some more opinions, contributing to Carolina's observations:

1) In my view, the biggest challenge for the expansion of renewable energy in Brazil is the political factor. Historically, decisions related to energy matrices in Brazil are much more related to political factors than strictly technical. Although the country is a world reference in renewable energy, this is a consequence of the natural features of the country, and not a social or environmental awareness. As proof, the country operates only about 5% of its potential to generate solar and wind power. Obviously, besides the political factor, other issues are directly related: the economic interest involving traditional industries such as oil and gas chain and the lack of technologies for better use of other sources.

2) In the last decade I have observed in Brazil a major breakthrough in the discussion about the importance of renewable energy. However, I believe that much of this increase is due to the work of NGOs and international organizations, which increasingly presents cases and scientific studies around the world. Given the maturity of national public opinion, governments naturally began to give more attention and encourage debates on the subject. In Brazil, for example, in 2002 it started a public program called Proinfra, to stimulate the production of energy from alternative sources such as biomass, wind and sun.

3) I think the third is the most difficult and also the most important question. In fact, it is necessary to stimulate the creation of public-private partnerships, as well as involve society in this movement to provide clean energy to everyone. In my view, governments have a duty to promote a legal environment favorable to initiatives that are aligned with this policy. And that means: creating laws that promote legal security of investments, preparing qualified professionals, to invest in technologies, to reduce taxes, and preparing a strategic plan for energy generation to the country, with short, medium and long term. Private companies will naturally participate in this process if all these factors are being respected and promoted by the government. Civil society, on the other hand, has a duty to require these state actions, as well as get involved in decisions related to energy matrices of their region. The first step is to promote it in schools and universities many discussions on these topics.

4) Actions such as this forum are good examples of how ideas spread. Nowadays social networks are a powerful tool to influence and disseminate initiatives. For example, I had never heard before about the ECPA - Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas. From now on, I can  follow the initiatives of other places and learn more. However, to pass ideas to actions, I believe have 2 main dimensions: a) set some major goals and focus on them, b) choose local leaders in each of the participating countries and provide conditions for them to join other forces. International cooperation is very important, and the example of other initiatives really helps to replicate the better ones.

Sorry for the long text, but the subject is complex ... best regards

jmonticelli
jmonticelli's picture
Dear Gabriel,

Dear Gabriel,

Thank you for your comments. Indeed the topic of energy has importan political ramifications. It is hard to make a decision with regard to energy without bearing in mind all the political interests at stake. For instance, Petrobras is a major government-owned oil company. Any law that expands renewable energy in Brazil will impact on Petrobras' revenues. When Congress needs to make a decision vis-à-vis renewable energy, what has more weight? Petrobras or the Amazon forest?

Nevertheless, it seems Brazil has done some impressive work with regard to renewable energy, particularly in comparaison to the rest of the region. However, a lot remains to be done.

Juan Cruz

Gabriel
Dear Juan,

Dear Juan,

you're right!

Petrobras is currently used as a political instrument. An example of this is the fact that the government ask the company to invest 400 million dollars in the construction of a new stadium (for the World Cup), since the builder and other partners say they have no more resources.
That is, the company's investments are directed by some groups' interests, and not linked to issues such as sustainability, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
We face a dilemma in Brazil: although it is important to have a big, strong and public oil company, we may be creating a monster, given the power related to its management.

Thank you,
Gabriel

jmonticelli
jmonticelli's picture
Dear Gabriel,

Dear Gabriel,

Energy is an important aspect of development. The Government of Brazil has every right to use its resources as it sees fit. However, it will be up to the people of this country to cast their votes either approving or disapproving of the decisions of their government. We just need to make sure that constituents are well informed of their country's policies when they cast those ballots. That is the beauty of democracy.

Thank you for your comments and for your enthusiasm.

Juan Cruz

ingjuanrodz
Puerto Rico Solar Projects

Hi, Puerto Rico is facing some big challenges in the interconnection requirements. Ramp control and frequency control requirements by local uitlity are stalling project across the Island. The stringent requirements by the local utility are imposing heavy costs to solar project, and we need some allies to convince the local utilty is not acting in favor of the renewable energy.

jmonticelli
jmonticelli's picture
Puerto Rico Solar Projects

It may be of interest to you to know that the OAS is working with the governments of Puerto Rico and Saint Kitts and Nevis to study the feasibility of an electricity interconnection between the the islands via submarine cables. The interconnection would bring geothermal electricity generated in Nevis to the island of Puerto Rico. You can check www.ecpamericas.org to find out more.

Juan Cruz

ingjuanrodz
Puerto Rico Solar Projects

Hi, Puerto Rico is facing some big challenges in the interconnection requirements. Ramp control and frequency control requirements by local uitlity are stalling project across the Island. The stringent requirements by the local utility are imposing heavy costs to solar project, and we need some allies to convince the local utilty is not acting in favor of the renewable energy.

goxley
goxley's picture
The ideas put forward by

The ideas put forward by techniicans may be sound. I believe the issue of alliances is deeper than just forming partnerships. What I think is necessary is a wholistic approach to governance. How does the government create laws to protect one specieis by illiminating another or negatively affecting another may have to be considered.

Another fact to consider will be communication among states within the OAS. How does activity in one country affect another in environmental issues. Student exchange may help but field visits around the hemisphere to have a first hand look and experience the damages done can affect the human psyche more with follow up dialogue.  All these activities can be implemented by Civil Society partnerships.

Example: Environmental Groups can form alliances with Education Groups and they can do follow up from the government plans and procedures in implementing Energy and Environmental Programs.

Technology can help by livestrem discussions and debates among the tertiary level students. Sharing your story will be a good way to have a first hand experience repeated without the dangers that went before.