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Latin America Report: Brazil's Earth Summit Gathering to Address Key Energy Issues

The timing couldn't be better as Rio de Janeiro puts the finishing touches on Earth Summit 2012, dubbed "Rio+20" because it marks two decades since the city hosted the inaugural event that was credited with breakthrough agreements.

A lot has changed since that summer gathering in 1992, and, well, a lot remains the same. But the politics of the day — compounded by a sputtering world economy that continues to struggle to regain its footing —  is putting these issues into the mainstream.

So far, more than 130 heads of state have said they will attend the event from June 20 to 22, which is billed as a summit but will unfold more like a conference. President Obama, who continues his election-year push amid criticisms over his clean energy policy, has yet to indicate whether he will attend.

The conference is broken down with seven topic areas that cover disasters, oceans, water, food, cities, energy and jobs. All of these are pillars of healthy populations, but they are even more critical to the growing economies in Latin America that are increasingly looking to renewable energy as a way to boost power and production.


IN THE NEWS

Supply Deal for 76 MW Solar Plant: Satcon Technology has been selected by GCL Solar Energy to supply inverters and subcombiners for a 76MW solar power plant in the Caribbean.

3GW of Solar Development Starts in Chile: Andes Mainstream Renewable Power has entered the first stages of developing a 162 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Atacama Desert in Chile, according to Photon International. The project is near the town of Diego de Almagro, in the Chañaral region and will consist of approximately 519,000 polycrystalline PV modules at a total investment of $420 million, according to a publication by the Chilean Environmental Impact Assessment Agency.

Court Halts 640 MW Chile Hydro Project: Appeals by environmental groups have stymied construction of Chile's 640 MW Cuervo hydroelectric plant less than a week after work on the project appeared imminent. On May 9, the Cuervo hydropower facility had been approved by Chile's Environmental Impact Assessment System, but that decision was then overturned by the country's Supreme Court on May 11.

Chile Developer Plans 192-MW Solar Project: Chilean renewable energy developer Eosol New Energy submitted an environmental impact declaration for the construction of a 192.6-MW photovoltaic solar plant, a transmission line and a power substation in Chile's northern region of Antofagasta.

Siemens Wins 115-MW Wind Order in Chile: Siemens Energy has received an order for a total of 50 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 115 megawatts for the El Arrayan wind power plant in Chile.

Peru Wind Farms Under Construction: Montealto has begun the installation of 62 wind turbines at two wind farm plants in Peru with 110 MW. One wind farm is in Cupinisque and another wind farm is in Talara.


A CLOSER LOOK

Mexico’s Wind Energy Boom: La Ventosa, a Mexican town whose names translates to “The Windy Place,” is home to Latin America’s newest large-scale wind farm, and the area’s rise as a home of future projects has locals debating the benefits of new business and the pitfalls of lost culture.

El Salvador to Create Geothermal Training Center: El Salvador is soon to be the home of a new international geothermal training center for Latin America and the Caribbean. The country received a grant for $2 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the center will help aid countries learn how to develop and run geothermal energy facilities.

Brazil’s Biomass Push: An amendment to a bill which establishes Brazil's national policy for electricity co-generation from biomass proposes local distributors to be obliged to acquire at least 2 GW of installed capacity per year as of 2013. The measure will be valid for a period of 10 years. The contracting would occur via regional auctions focused on undertakings authorised by Brazil's power sector regulator Aneel to operate as distributed generators.


BY THE NUMBERS

Chile’s Energy Mix

17,000: Megawatts of total installed capacity.
74: Percentage of that capacity that powers the Central Grid System; 25 percent serves the Northern Grid.
40: Hydropower stations nationwide, with 10 more under assessment.
34: Percent of the country's energy supplied by hydropower
63: Percent of energy from thermal power stations
3: Percent coming from renewable sources like wind and solar


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