Mexico top LatAm country in sustainable energy scorecard

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mexico came top among Latin American countries in the World Bank's first regulatory indicators for sustainable energy (RISE) scorecard, coming 14th overall behind Belgium.

The RISE scores reflect a snapshot of a country's policies and regulations in the energy sector, organized by the three pillars of the bank's sustainable energy for all initiative: energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

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RISE is the first global policy scorecard of its kind, grading 111 countries, and is aimed at helping governments assess if they have a policy and regulatory framework in place to drive progress on sustainable energy and pinpoints where more can be done to attract private investments, the banks says.

Denmark is ranked top of the list with 94 points, followed by Canada and the US, both with 91 points, the Netherlands with 90, Germany with 89 and the UK with 88. Mexico scored 84 points.

Chile is the second ranked Latin American country, in 29th place with 76 points, followed by Brazil in 35th spot with 72 points. Colombia is ranked 38th with 70 points. Ecuador is 44th with 68 points, Argentina 46th with 66 points and Bolivia is next with 64 points.

Mexico announced last August it would invest US$156mn in energy efficiency and sustainability projects including waterworks and infrastructure with financing from the World Bank, the second phase of an energy efficiency project launched with the multilateral in 2014 that measures power use in order to develop sustainability plans.

State electricity utility CFE said in December it would save 390mn pesos (about US$23mn), equivalent to around 217GWh, over the next four years as a result of the implementation of its energy-savings program PAESE, part of the country's energy efficiency drive.

The RISE report finds that numerous countries are emerging as sustainable energy leaders across the developing world, but while progress is encouraging, there remain significant gaps in policy and regulatory frameworks.

"Policy frameworks for grid densification and expansion, which are the mainstay of electrification efforts, lag substantially and still need to make progress," the report states.

"Too many countries are missing out on using solar power for universal electrification by neglecting enabling policies for stand-alone solar home systems."

The bank says it is critical to find ways to make electricity access affordable for consumers, while also making it financially viable for the utilities that provide the service. Energy efficiency is often overlooked in the policy agenda, and many countries that have worked on energy efficiency measures have tended to do so on a relatively superficial level, the bank says.

Critical aspects of energy efficiency, including the role of utilities, remain in their infancy, and efficient administrative procedures to speed up consumers' connection to the grid and accelerate developers' starting up of mini-grids are essential to achieving progress on sustainable energy goals, according to the multilateral.