GEM: Latin America has 319 GW of renewables announced by 2030; Brazil leads

(epbr) Global Energy Monitor (GEM) report shows that Latin America has the potential to increase its solar and wind energy capacity by more than 460% by 2030 if all 319 gigawatts (GW) of large-scale new projects announced, in pre- construction or under construction come into operation.

This represents an increase of almost 70% in relation to the region’s current electrical capacity considering all sources (457 GW).

Brazil leads, with a potential of 217 GW – 57 GW of solar parks, 160 GW of onshore and offshore wind farms. In offshore wind alone, the country has more than 176.5 GW in projects with licensing requests at Ibama.

Next comes Chile (38 GW), Colombia (37 GW), Peru (10 GW) and Mexico (7 GW) with announcements in renewables until 2030.

Today, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico account for almost 84% of the existing 69 GW of utility-scale solar and wind farms currently in operation in the region.

But while Brazil, Chile and Colombia are at the forefront of the renewable race, Mexico has lagged behind; ultimately, it should only reach 70% of its pledge to bring in 40GW of solar and wind power by 2030, the study says.

There are at least five reasons to be optimistic about the three leaders: well-established energy auctions, openness to private investment, the economic potential of green hydrogen exports, lowering the cost of solar and wind installations, and policy responses to climate change.

If all these 319 GW get off the ground, LA will be behind only East Asia, pulled by China, in the race for green energy.

“The race for renewable energy is accelerating rapidly, which means that countries that have made the most efforts so far, such as Brazil and Colombia, must remain vigilant as they create large-scale solar and wind projects,” notes Sophia Bauer, researcher at GEM.

Paving the way for green hydrogen

With surplus energy potential, Latin American countries are in the crosshairs of international investments for the production of green hydrogen and the export of derivatives such as ammonia, methanol and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil are examples of countries that have adopted or are developing national hydrogen strategies.

“From 2020 to 2021, the global hydrogen market was valued at US$130 billion and is expected to grow by more than 9% per year through 2030. Green hydrogen agreements, such as the ones Chile signed with EU ports European Union, are an approach to ensure that Latin America can guarantee a share of this growing market”, analyzes the GEM. View in full (.pdf)

Chile and Colombia are advanced in their strategies. In January, the two countries signed an agreement to develop the regional market.

Brazil, despite its enormous potential and the projects that are multiplying in its ports, is still testing its plan.

Transition challenges

So much energy also carries fair transition challenges, evaluates Cristina Amorim, coordinator of the Nordeste Potencia Plan.

“The country needs to do some homework — in particular, plan expansion side by side and with respect for rural and traditional communities, in addition to taking care of environmental impacts. Behind the gigawatts, there are opportunities for the country to grow in a sustainable and responsible way”, she argues.


Published earlier this year, a study by the Energy Research Company (EPE) recommends approximately 6,000 km of new transmission lines and 11 new Basic Network substations, investments estimated at R$ 20.75 billion in the coming years.

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