Clean energy development to exceed fossil fuels in Latin America

The number of clean energy projects coming online in 2019 in Latin America will exceed fossil fuel projects.

This is a prediction from BNamericas, using its project database. Citing the “unstoppable wave of renewable energy in Latin America,” BNamericas said for each gigawatt of thermoelectric power coming online next year, there will be 0.92 GW generated by non-conventional renewable energy plants (solar, wind, biomass and geothermal).

Adding hydroelectric generation to this formula (hydro is not classified as a renewable in some Latin American countries), the added capacity that does not come from fossil resources will be 14.5 GW, compared to 9.9 GW from thermoelectric plants.

Behind the numbers

BNamericas focused on projects worth at least US$50 million that will come into operation next year.

Wind farms lead the list, with 69, followed by solar photovoltaic with 56, hydro with 17, combined cycle with 10, natural gas with 4, coal with 3, natural gas combined cycle with 2 and biomass and LNG combined cycle each with 1.

In terms of capacity added, combined cycle leads with list with 5.83 GW, followed by hydro with 5.41 GW, solar with 4.86 GW, wind with 3.97 GW, natural gas combined cycle with 1.65 GW, coal with 1.14 GW, natural gas with 934 MW, LNG combined cycle with 281 MW, geothermal with 295 MW and biomass with 3 MW.

Finally, by country, BNamericas says the largest solar activity will be seen in Mexico, followed by Chile, while the largest wind capacity will be in Argentina, followed by Mexico. The other generating technologies discussed above were not included in this data.

However, when analyzing the financial aspects, BNamericas found the cost per megawatt of renewable projects exceeds the cost for thermoelectric projects. For example, the cost per megawatt for solar is US$1.44 million and for wind is US$1.31 million, compared to combined cycle and natural gas costs under US$700,000 per megawatt.

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