IDB project aims for 100% LatAm electrification

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will launch The Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) in the Americas initiative in capital Santiago.

SE4All is a global public-private initiative started by the UN in 2011, with regional hubs run by the IDB (Latin America and the Caribbean), the African Development Bank (Africa) and the Asian Development Bank (Asia).

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By 2030, SE4All aims to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the implementation of energy efficiency projects and double the share of renewable energy in the global mix.

The development banks act as facilitators between the public and private sectors so that the three goals can be reached, IDB senior energy specialist Arnaldo Vieira de Carvalho told BNamericas.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, approximately 30mn people lack access to electricity, the IDB said, representing 5% of the total population.

SE4All starts by gathering rapid assessments of targeted countries.

Assessments for Colombia and Nicaragua, for example, show drastic differences in electrification rates between urban and rural areas.

In Nicaragua, SE4All aims to increase electricity access to 75% of households by 2015, 85% by 2020 and 95% by 2030.

"Now we're working on the planning phase," Vieira de Carvalho said, "[which] is how to get to those targets."

This stage involves locating the people without access, determining the cost of providing them with electricity and deciding which solution is best.

These solutions can include off-grid generation, grid extensions, renewable projects "and anything else that's necessary," Vieira de Carvalho added.

"A policy, a regulation ... anything that you need to put in place to have that target met in a given period of time."

Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to be the first of the three SE4All regions to achieve universal access, according to the IDB.

"The countries are used to developing master plans for rural electrification," Vieira de Carvalho said. "But this one is different, because we [are asking], 'What's needed to get to 100%?'"

Bachelet is scheduled to give the keynote address at the launch, which will take place October 15-17.

BNamericas will host its 11th Southern Cone Energy Summit in Lima, Peru, on November 12-13. Click here to download the agenda.