In Argentina, 2017 was its year for renewable energy. It attracted investment to harness its vast renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy.
But this is just the first phase in improving the country’s energy supply. CGTN’s Joel Richards reports.
It’s a building off the energy grid called the EcoSolar House. All of its energy is produced from renewable sources. Located in the northern city of Jujuy, it is a center for students to learn about renewable energy, and is also the EcoAndina office.
For 30 years, EcoAndina has promoted efficient renewable energy use. It has also helped remote communities in the northern province find simple affordable solutions using solar energy.
Silvia Rojo is the co-founder of EcoAndina which inaugurated this EcoSolar House this year.
“We said we have to show in the city of Jujuy that we can also use solar energy in urban areas. It has to be used in all homes, in cities and rural areas, and save 80 percent of energy which is currently produced by fossil fuels,” said Rojo.
Jujuy is where work on one of the largest solar parks in Latin America will soon begin.
“For Jujuy, it is the largest public works project in the province’s history. It will change the productive matrix of Jujuy. Historically, it has always been agriculture, sugar and tobacco, now we are working on this project in the clean energy sector,” said Alejandro Insaurralde of Jujuy Mining and Energy JEMSE.
Argentina is working to increase renewable energy production from 1.8 percent to 20 percent by 2025. This year, the country placed a priority on attracting investment to increase capacity and opening bids for wind and solar projects were oversubscribed.
But even with large scale projects increasing production, there are still obstacles.
“The potential Argentina has in solar and wind energy is huge. The challenge is integrating that into our grid,” said Mauricio Roitman, Argentina’s Energy Ministry.
Incorporating energy production and improving infrastructure into renewable energy is also a problem.
After over a decade of cheap energy for consumers, the new energy policies led to the removal of old subsidies and in turn, prices increased by nearly 150 percent in some cases, while industry and small companies struggled with the increased cost of energy, and this has led to consumer protests and complaints.
Argentina’s Ministry of Energy says consumers will have cheaper energy in two to three years. But just this month, half a million people were affected by power cuts in the Buenos Aires province. The renewable energy transition is on the right track in Argentina but cannot come fast enough for consumers.