New collaboration to boost renewable energy in the Latin America and Caribbean Region

Source: press release, 21 June 2022      

Simon Harford, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet Chief Executive Officer
Simon Harford, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet Chief Executive Officer (photo: The Rockefeller Foundation)

The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) and Renewable Energy for Latin America and Caribbean (RELAC) have announced a new collaboration to put renewables at the heart of the region’s efforts to boost economic development and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. GEAPP, a collective action platform of 18 public and private sector partners that launched at COP26, will support RELAC’s goal of increasing the proportion of renewable energy in the region to 70% by 2030. Specifically, this collaboration will focus on identifying, addressing, and ultimately, helping RELAC’s 15 member countries overcome barriers to large-scale renewable energy investment.

“The support of partner agencies to the RELAC initiative is essential to accelerate the energy transition in Latin America and the Caribbean and to effectively channel the large investments required. In this case, having a global impact initiative such as GEAPP guarantees that the private sector can get involved early in this process and identify together with member countries the most impactful set of projects. This is in line with IDB Group’s Vision 2025, our roadmap to achieve a sustainable and inclusive growth in the region” comments Benigno López, Vice President for Sectors and Knowledge at the IDB, which acts as the Technical Secretariat of the RELAC initiative.

An estimated 18 million people in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)currently lack access to modern electricity, and past climate disasters have revealed the region’s vulnerability to extreme weather events. Up to 5.8 million people in the region could be pushed into extreme poverty by climate-related events by 2030, according to a recent World Bank report. These climate events are expected to add additional stresses to already fragile and aging energy systems, and across the region, countries are disproportionately dependent on both variable rainfall and fossil fuel supply chains. Climate events are also expected to disproportionally impact already vulnerable populations, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

Simon Harford, CEO of GEAPP, says, “Collective action is critical to ensuring greater and more equitable access to reliable energy for people across Latin America and the Caribbean. This is why we are proud to be partnering with RELAC and working hand in hand with countries in the region to scale up access to renewable energy. Doing so will deliver tangible results on the ground to rapidly reduce carbon emissions, expand energy access, and create green jobs.”

RELAC, which was established at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit, and GEAPP will work in close cooperation with LAC governments, civil society, and the private sector to develop strategies sensitive to each country’s specific energy challenges. In doing so, this new collaboration will support its country partners’ efforts to achieve a just transition to renewable energy that both ensures a viable alternative to a fossil-fuel intensive development path and improves livelihoods for low- and middle-income communities by creating jobs catalysing economic development.

A new report by the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Labour Organization highlights the benefits of this approach: 15 million new jobs would be created in LAC by 2030 with the shift to a net-zero carbon economy. Co-benefits from this transition include targeting socio-economic and gender disparities through a green workforce as well as empowering the industrial, agricultural, manufacturing, and transport sectors to invest in innovations that improve reliability, flexibility, and autonomy for underserved communities across the region.