30 September 2014

Launch of the Regional Program on Energy Efficiency: Toward a New Regional Energy Agenda

  • In the framework of the initiative "Toward a New Regional Energy Agenda," with the combined efforts of ALADI, ARPEL, CAF, ECLAC, CIER, OAS, OLADE and WEC, the need to develop a joint work for a Regional Program on Energy Efficiency was addressed. Its main objective is to promote the development of the market for energy efficiency projects in Latin America.

    In the first phase of this initiative, studies were developed to analyze the energy sector in Latin American and the Caribbean and its insertion in the global context. This resulted in a diagnosis of the current status and the identification of key energy-related issues for the region.

    In its planning session in Montevideo (August 2013), the eight organizations and Latin American regional organizations that were members of the working group for the "Regional Energy Agenda" established an indicative plan of action for the implementation of Phase II of the Agenda to be developed in 2014-2015. One of the areas identified as strategic was Energy Efficiency (EE), with particular reference to the interest in developing an "ad-hoc" project on the subject, whose objective would be to support the creation of an energy efficiency market in the countries of the region.

    The Regional Program on Energy Efficiency was launched on September 12, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. in the Conference Room Cisneros of the General Secretariat of ALADI Headquarters in Montevideo. Authorities of the Uruguayan government, ALADI, CAF and the other participating organizations presented the coordinated vision at the regional level to address Energy Efficiency in the region.

    The event was opened by the Secretary-General of ALADI, Mr. Carlos Chacho Álvarez, the country representative of CAF, Ms. Gladis Genua, and the National Director of Energy, Mr. Ramón Méndez.

    In his welcome speech, Secretary-General of ALADI Carlos Chacho Álvarez stressed the importance and the need to have initiatives aimed at regional integration, especially in the field of energy integration, where the Regional Program on Energy Efficiency is a clear example of joint work among regional organizations to promote integration.

    The country representative of CAF, Ms. Gladis Genua, explained the interest of CAF in working actively in the development of financial mechanisms to support the implementation of energy efficiency projects in Latin American countries.

    The National Director of Energy, Mr. Ramón Méndez, highlighted the progress made by Latin America in the last decade on aspects related to the access to energy and the development of energy markets and how these initiatives of coordinated work among organizations constitute a positive contribution to sustain these changes of structural content.

    Subsequently, the Coordinator of the Inter-institutional Program, Mr. Alfonso Blanco, presented the Regional Program on Energy Efficiency, and the Senior Energy Specialist of CAF, Mr. Mauricio Garrón, explained the progress made regarding CAF financing aimed at energy efficiency for the region.

    With respect to the presentation of the Regional Program on Energy Efficiency, it can be noted that many Latin American countries have made significant progress in the development of the market for EE projects. However, the overall diagnosis is that achieving its full potential requires the consolidation and coordinated action of different public and private players in order to remove existing barriers.

    If the extent of the market for EE projects in Latin America is conceived as the entire potential demand for Energy Efficiency projects in the industrial, commercial, residential and transportation sectors, among others, it is then understood that this is a major economic opportunity for the region, which brings in a substantial improvement in the terms of trade and competitiveness for the region.

    For this purpose, the eight participating organizations designed a Regional Program for the development of the market for energy efficiency projects in Latin America, consisting of a strategy adapted to the current situation in the region and specific activities to be carried out by regional organizations participating in this program.
    The promotional efforts of this Regional Program are targeted to all the key players at the national level whose activities constitute both the demand and the supply of this potential market. Also significant is the work done by the authorities responsible for the national energy efficiency policy, and regulatory agencies involved in adapting standards or removing existing regulatory barriers.

    The coordinated activities to support the program developed by ALADI, ARPEL, CIER, ECLAC, OAS, OLADE and WEC, as well as the financing lines developed by CAF were presented in full detail. These specific activities include the development of tools to determine performance indicators at the regional level, inventories of energy efficiency projects, training activities, exchange, dissemination and support to governments.

    As regards the development of Financing Lines focused on Energy Efficiency for the region, CAF presented the funding mechanisms that it will be implementing shortly, which channel funds from KFW (Germany) through three instruments: A first financing line focused on Energy Efficiency from the perspective of Supply, a second financing line aimed at Energy Efficiency from the perspective of Demand, and a non-reimbursable technical assistance fund to support the development of energy audits and of investment projects.

    It was concluded that it is possible to identify a common regional vision around the role of Energy Efficiency in the development of Latin America and the Caribbean nations.

    The Regional Program on EE allows the regional organizations to focus on and enhance their efforts to catalyze the necessary market transformations promoted by the governments of each country, and key public and private players.

    At the close of the event, all participating organizations presented their vision with respect to the Regional Program on Energy Efficiency through their respective representatives, namely, Juan José Carrasco, acting on behalf of CIER, Manlio Coviello, acting on behalf of ECLAC, Jorge Ciacciarelli, acting on behalf of ARPEL, Edwin Cross, acting on behalf of the WEC, Lennys Rivera, acting on behalf of OLADE, and Carolina Peña, acting on behalf of the OAS.

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