Latin America – A new leader in renewable energy

The challenge of combating climate change in Latin America is improving with continuous plans for new renewable energy projects. In response to the implications of climate change, Latin America is taking bold steps by investing heavily in renewable energy projects. At the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) Latin America emphasized its passion to integrate clean energy into their future strategic plans.

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Investment into renewable energy projects has risen mainly due to the increase in the frequency of natural disasters in the region. The impact of multiple floods, droughts, and storms has had massive impacts on Caribbean islands, displacing thousands of people and impacting agricultural land, health facilities, and other wider services. Peru experienced some of its worst flooding and Colombia recently experienced one of the countries deadliest floods in history. The region and its people have been directly impacted by climate change and there is a growing urgency for clean energy projects to increase and replace current energy systems in the region.

As a result of growing pressure from natural disasters, many countries are expanding projects within the solar and wind sector with an aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Experts have suggested that Mexico and other nations are now decreasing their emissions. Costa Rica has also gained much exposure in the media due to running entirely on renewable energy for more than 250 days. Costa Rica is currently paving the way for other nations on delivering a clean energy future.

At the recent COP23 conference, Latin America highlighted its commitment towards renewable energy projects. Brazil, Mexico, and Chile are leading the way by heavily investing in a range of wind and solar projects. Chile is leading the way in solar development, with the construction of the biggest solar PV plant (El Romero) that has a total capacity that could generate enough energy for over 240,000 households.

Argentina and Mexico have also highlighted their support by setting new renewable energy targets and adopt a range of new policies and incentives to improve the prospects of future projects in the region. Mexico is also the first developing nation to propose a specific climate strategy to the Paris Climate Agreement.

At the COP23, the main cities within Latin America participated and collaborated within the global alliances of 25 cities. This involved a commitment to work harder and develop a range of new projects to address climate change. Within the COP23, both Colombia and Ecuador were recognized for their initiatives and project plans. Colombia gained the Momentum for Change award for its collaboration with young scientists and engineers connected with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture. Ecuador gained the Change award for its work affiliated with the Sustainable Agriculture with Inclusion and Participation of Gender.

Latin America has shown its commitment to renewable energy and new projects are being noticed by world leaders. The region is now home to some of the biggest and most innovative clean energy schemes. With growing environmental pressure and concerns of natural disasters, it is likely renewable energy projects will continue to grow in the future.