Coal exists on the margins of Latin America's electricity sector and plays a relatively small role in the regional energy matrix.
In this sense, Latin America stands apart from most other geographic regions, as well as global energy consumption trends. Coal accounts for roughly 40% of global electricity supply and has been one of the fastest growing sources over the last decade.
By contrast, coal-fired plants supply just over 5% of the electricity produced in Latin America and the Caribbean, a figure that has varied little over the last 40 years, according to data from the World Bank.
The region has instead exploited other resources to meet its growing power needs, namely hydro (55%) and, increasingly, natural gas (22%). As a result, it has missed out on the construction boom of new coal-fired capacity that is occurring in other developing regions.
There are, however, a few exceptions. In certain countries, some incentives exist that could favor coal power, although these are offset by other factors.
In general, BNamericas expects coal to continue playing a minor part in Latin America's power matrix.