Latam and Caribbean have ‘remarkable energy potential’, plus other top energy stories

A view of power lines at the Guri dam at the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Power Station, in the southern state of Bolivar.
The latest developments in the global energy sector, from the Forum's Centre for Energy & Materials.
Image: REUTERS/Jorge Silva
  • This round-up brings you the latest developments in the global energy sector.
  • Top energy news: Latam and Caribbean have ‘remarkable energy potential’, IEA says; Over 60 countries support tripling renewable energy; Africa’s geothermal energy to exceed Europe’s by 2030.
  • For more on the World Economic Forum's work in the energy space, visit the Centre for Energy and Materials.

1. Latam and Caribbean have ‘remarkable energy potential’: IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its first specialist report on Latin America and the Caribbean. The region is seen as vital to the energy transition due to its abundant resources for renewable energy.

Around 60% of electricity in the region comes from renewables, which is double the global average. Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina are major producers of wind power, and the region is also making great progress with biofuels and low-emissions hydrogen.

“Latin America and the Caribbean can play an outsize role in the new global energy economy,” says IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

“With the incredible natural resources and a long-standing commitment to renewables, countries in the region already have a head start on secure and sustainable transitions to clean energy. Leaning into these transitions would ignite growth in local economies – and put the world’s energy system on a surer footing.”

Graphic showing which fuels are used in a country's energy mix
Around 60% of electricity in Latin America and the Caribbean comes from renewables.
Image: IEA

2. Over 60 countries support tripling renewable energy by 2030

More than 60 countries support a deal led by the EU, US and UAE to triple renewable energy this decade and move away from coal. This effort is being promoted ahead of the upcoming COP28 climate talks and will be proposed for inclusion in the meeting's final outcome.

Several countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Canada, Peru, Chile, Zambia, and Barbados have agreed to join a new pledge.

The pledge would also feature a commitment to doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements to 4% per year until 2030.

It would also include a promise to reduce the use of unabated coal power and an end to the financing of new coal-fired power plants. Negotiations with China and India to join the pledge are progressing, but no agreement has yet been reached.

Scientists emphasize that expanding clean energy and reducing CO2 emissions are crucial in addressing climate change.

3. News in brief: More energy stories from around the world

The geothermal sector in Africa is expected to receive $35 billion in investments by 2050, highlighting the important role that geothermal energy will play in meeting the continent's increasing energy needs. Africa's installed geothermal capacity will exceed Europe's by the end of the decade, according to Rystad Energy.

African women are breaking barriers in the traditionally male-dominated energy sector. They are making significant contributions and leading positive change in different aspects of the industry, writes Pumps Africa.

Burkina Faso ranks among the least electrified nations globally, with only 20% of the population having electricity access, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. To remedy this, the country’s government has decided to commission a nuclear power plant, writes DW, but some experts say solar would be a better option.

Kenya could become a hub for carbon capture and storage, reports African Business. Swiss company Climeworks is considering building a large-scale facility in the country. Kenya’s East African Rift Valley has ideal conditions for storing carbon, and the country’s geothermal resources provide renewable power for direct air capture systems.

In Namibia, construction has started on Africa's first decarbonized iron plant, which will be powered solely by green hydrogen. The steelmaking industry, known for its high pollution levels, is aiming to transition away from using coal.

There needs to be deeper political union in the EU when it comes to energy, various industrial companies say. They are calling for harmonized tax incentives and a common market to boost the bloc's industrial competitiveness and facilitate a green transition, according to the Financial Times.

A miniature economy on a Mediterranean island is being powered solely by green hydrogen, The Economist reports. The project in Mallorca shows what is possible in the future, but it is facing some supply challenges.

Switching to sustainable heating could lead to fuel and cost savings, reduced emissions and increased energy independence for Central Asia, according to The Diplomat.

Peru's government has introduced Plan Unidos to revive the economy, with a focus on mining, energy, and oil and gas. The aim is to optimize environmental requirements and consultation processes for exploration. For active mining, they will improve safety regulations and concession granting to meet specific area or sector needs, writes

The US government has put forward $7 billion to help establish a series of seven hydrogen hubs across the country, says The New York Times.

Energy prices are not rising, despite the war taking place in the key oil-producing region of the Middle East. International oil benchmark Brent crude is actually lower now than before the fighting started. The New York Times explores why.

What's the World Economic Forum doing about the transition to clean energy?

Moving to clean energy is key to combating climate change, yet in the past five years, the energy transition has stagnated.

Energy consumption and production contribute to two-thirds of global emissions, and 81% of the global energy system is still based on fossil fuels, the same percentage as 30 years ago. Plus, improvements in the energy intensity of the global economy (the amount of energy used per unit of economic activity) are slowing. In 2018 energy intensity improved by 1.2%, the slowest rate since 2010.

Effective policies, private-sector action and public-private cooperation are needed to create a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable and secure global energy system.

Benchmarking progress is essential to a successful transition. The World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index, which ranks 115 economies on how well they balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability, shows that the biggest challenge facing energy transition is the lack of readiness among the world’s largest emitters, including US, China, India and Russia. The 10 countries that score the highest in terms of readiness account for only 2.6% of global annual emissions.

To future-proof the global energy system, the Forum’s Shaping the Future of Energy and Materials Platform is working on initiatives including, Systemic Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Energy and the Global Battery Alliance to encourage and enable innovative energy investments, technologies and solutions.

Additionally, the Mission Possible Platform (MPP) is working to assemble public and private partners to further the industry transition to set heavy industry and mobility sectors on the pathway towards net-zero emissions. MPP is an initiative created by the World Economic Forum and the Energy Transitions Commission.

Is your organisation interested in working with the World Economic Forum? Find out more here.

4. More on energy from Agenda

How green is your country? Is it embracing more sustainable ways of doing things? If so, how does it compare to other nations around the world? Here are the countries making the most progress in 2023.

Electric vehicle sales are surging, especially in Europe, where the market grew by 62% in the past 12 months – so why is adoption still slow?

Brazil, the world’s 11th largest economy and home to over 200 million people, has pledged to cut its emissions by 50% by 2030. Here's why Brazil is poised to become a leader in sustainable aviation fuel.

To learn more about the work of the Centre for Energy and Materials, contact Ella Yutong Lin:

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