Latin America Report: ‘Time Is Not On Our Side,’ Says U.N. Chief

The United Nations Earth Summit kicked off this week in Rio de Janeiro, but even before its conclusion, the highly anticipated Rio+20 gathering was beset by a lack of specific goals and a failure to draw world leaders like American President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon struck a particularly harsh tone during his opening speech in which he implored world leaders to move beyond mere discussions and loose agreements and toward real action on sustainability. “It’s time for all of us to think globally and long term, beginning here now in Rio, for time is not on our side,” he said.

A pre-summit draft document expected to be adopted on Friday has been widely criticized as overly vague and lacking real teeth. The broad agreement isn’t expected to usher in the type of fundamental changes organizers had sought. Most experts agree that the event is a victim of poor timing, stuck between a sagging economy, a debt crisis in Europe and a tense presidential election in the United States. But the event has drawn the type of grassroots enthusiasm that helped make it a landmark happening in the same location 20 years ago.


MORE FROM RIO

Dispatch From Rio+20: “Sustainable Energy for All” is the main theme for this week’s Rio+20 United Nations gathering in Brazil. The challenge of making energy both accessible and sustainable has grown more complicated in the past year or so, and also more exciting. These are tough times for coal and other high-carbon sources of energy, while the news about clean energy is more promising.

How G20 Nations Measure Up: As world leaders from industrial giants and developing nations attend the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the Natural Resources Defense Council used the opportunity to examine how G20 nations are faring on both renewable generation and clean energy investment.


IN THE NEWS

Uruguay Boosts Wind Power Estimates to 1,000 MW by 2015: Uruguay increased the amount of wind-powered electricity it plans to bring online in coming years, saying it wants to capitalize on cheap turbine prices.

Cooking Oil Powers Canada-Mexico Flight: Air Canada became the latest in a lengthening list of airlines that have experimented with running their airliners on biofuels during regular passenger flights. In this case, the aircraft was an Airbus A319 traveling from Toronto to Mexico City. It was tanked up with a 50/50 mix of regular aviation fuel and biofuel made from recycled cooking oil.

Brazil Top in Region for Clean Energy Opportunity: Brazil topped an index of best clean energy opportunities among 26 Latin American and Caribbean countries, the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter- American Development Bank and Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Shell Scraps Brazilian Biofuels Plan: A biofuels company set up by Shell in Brazil has scrapped controversial plans to source sugar cane from land widely considered to have been stolen from an indigenous tribe. The move follows a vociferous campaign by the Indians in question, backed by Survival International.

$185 Million OK’d for Peru Solar Projects: The US-based Overseas Private Investment Corporation has approved $185m for two 20-MW solar projects in Peru.

Hydro and Latin America: Hydropower is the world’s largest source of renewable energy. In Latin America, it is the main source of power generation, accounting for roughly 65 percent of all electricity generated. Altogether, Latin America’s installed hydropower capacity totaled 153 GW at the end of 2010.

Vestas Inks Deal in Nicaragua: Vestas has signed an order for a total capacity of 39.6 MW consisting of 22 units of the V100-1.8 MW turbine for the Alba Rivas wind plant in Nicaragua.


ON THE HORIZON

UAE Company Targets Brazil Market: United Arab Emirates investment-and-development company Mubadala Development Co. is targeting large companies in Brazil to set up cooperation projects in the renewable-energy area, the director of a Mubadala unit said Wednesday.

A Trip To “Climate-Mart”: The world leader in production of solar water heaters, Himin, of China, plans to open 50,000 stores worldwide in five years, with about 5,000 of them in Brazil. Called “climate marts”, the stores will sell equipment, such as heaters and air conditioners, and products for personal use, like solar-powered radios, lamps and toys.

Loan for Wind Farms in Brazil: Iberdrola and Brazilian consortium Neoenergia will sign 10 loans for €300 million ($381.3 million) with Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento Economico y Social (BNDES) and with Banco do Brasil to build wind farms in Brazil.

Etrion Solar Update: Etrion is negotiating its first power purchase agreement to construct a 5 megawatt solar power project with expected project realization in 2013. In addition, Etrion is pursuing other opportunities to provide solar electricity to mining companies with varying energy requirements located throughout the country and expects additional power purchase agreements to be signed before the end of the year.

Pacific Hydro Chile to Build 108 MW Wind Farm: The Chilean unit of Australian renewable energy company Pacific Hydro Ltd, Pacific Hydro Chile, has filed an environmental declaration for a 108-MW wind plant in the Coquimbo region, 168 miles north of Chile’s capital Santiago.


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Latin America Lures Renewable Energy

“If you’re not in a renewable project in Latin America and you’re a private equity investor, it’s a little strange.”

George Osorio, New York-based private equity firm Conduit Capital


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