Wood and Heat: Sourcing Sustainable Energy in Latin America

By 25 February, 2024

Our planet lives through multiple challenges, and many of them were started because of humankind. For example, there is a huge deficit in energy because many regions cannot afford common sources of energy, such as nuclear production. The import is too expensive for them. So, they need cheaper substitutions. This is especially important to the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

People have to look for reasonable alternatives. These can be sawdust briquettes and similar options because they are economical, flexible, and safe. The safety of energy sourcing is the topic of this article. The focus is on sourcing sustainable energy in this region of the planet. The future success depends on the use of natural and clean energy sources. Let’s highlight the main tasks and challenges.

The Main Drivers of the Energy Transition and System Transformation

Why is there a need for sustainable energy economics in Latin America and the Caribbean? There are several strong reasons. They are as follows:

  • Strong dependence on the oil market
  • The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The cost of imported energy sources
  • Climate changes

These are very serious issues faced by most countries of the region. The global pandemic has shaken the foundations of every country. So, it’s no surprise it impacted LAC so negatively in this aspect. Yet, dependence on something or someone seems to be the key to most problems. It is very economical to buy Nestro heat logs. Yet, this is a nice solution for several households, but not the entire country or region.

The dependence on the oil market is common to most countries of the globe. They simply do not have natural resources and are forced to import oil. This is how the prosperity and suitability of Latin America survive.

Another issue is the cost of imported energy resources. It’s very expensive and some may claim that different countries just need to refuse them. On the contrary, such countries as Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, Grenada, Barbados, or Jamaica cannot do that. They depend on the imported energy from 90% to 100%, depending on the country. Besides, climate changes also make them import energy sources.

Renewable Energy Is the Solution

How to overcome the dependence on other countries and become independent? This is a very delicate question. Yet, the solution does exist! The countries in Latin America and the Caribbean use their natural resources to regain independence.

In fact, this is an obvious way out. This region is rich in all kinds of alternative, natural, and safe energy sources. First of all, most countries of LAC are close to the equator. It means they are exposed to high levels of sunlight.

Secondly, water is everywhere. Just think of how big Amazon is, and you will realize the high potential of Brazil, Argentina, and other countries. Thirdly, the region can thrive thanks to the use of winds. They are strong and regular over there. Several big wind farms can solve the issue. The use of the right natural sources is a reasonable solution.

These countries only need to use the right technology to make things run smoothly. Natural sources offer the following benefits:

  • You do not have to buy them because you already possess them
  • You do not depend on imported sources of energy
  • They are cost-effective
  • They are safe and environmental-friendly
  • The economy of your country prospers

One can look for other benefits as well. When you have alternative sources of energy, you may not worry about your stability. One can also get night briquettes, as wood and heat can provide you with the required warmth without spending a lot or harming the environment.

The Main Challenges

As it was already written, the use of renewable energy sources seems to be a reasonable way out. It sufficiently contributes to sourcing sustainable energy in Latin America. So, this statement leads to a logical question – Why the countries of Latin America are not using them now? This is when it is crucial to highlight the main challenges for energy transition in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Unequal Cost and Size

There is a big difference between the size of renewable projects and their cost. It means small and isolated countries. As they do not possess enough territory, they simply cannot build huge objects of renewable energy. In the meantime, their cost is very high. It’s always cheaper to build something massive.

Inappropriate Technical Capacity

Not all countries have adopted frameworks for renewable energy introduction. Many of them still lack experts and experience. Some countries are just getting started in figuring out how it works. Others simply weigh the pros and cons, without undertaking the real steps.

Weak Project Development

Another problem is the way many LAC countries are planning the integration of natural energy sources. They may have great initial projects. Nonetheless, there is a huge gap between what must be done and how much money can be received. The finance pipeline strongly depends on the domestic content that is frequently insufficient for launching big projects.

Existing Utility Constraints

One more issue is the way state and private ownership utilities work. Although most countries are willing to use renewable energy, their contracts restrict their actions. What does it mean?

Before people thought of using natural energy sources, they used other sources, such as electricity, nuclear energy, and so on. They signed long-term contracts. So, no one has legal permission to change the infrastructure until the contracts run out. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have to wait until the right time comes.

The Bottom Line

It is very important to enjoy sustainable energy for this region. One of the best solutions is to use renewable sources of energy. For example, Argentina and Uruguay have made significant progress in this aspect and are already enjoying the fruits. Yet, there are many challenges that must be taken into account. Some of them need a lot of time to be finally solved.

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