Our America: The Big Business of “Energy Transition”

By Geraldina Colotti, on February 21, 2021.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2020 was the second warmest year on Earth, slightly less than 2016, confirming the danger of global warming. “Change the system to change the climate,” said Chávez, getting to the heart of the problem. But, while the organized force of the popular movements has not yet produced a change, even the “ecological reconversion” is part of the gigantic reboot of capitalism at the global level, implemented to overcome the crisis. It is not for nothing that in Latin America, neoliberal governments such as the Colombian, Chilean or Peruvian governments, accustomed to reducing the cost of labor and security in the “race for innovation” of companies in the sector, are becoming the main interlocutors of the US multinationals.

In the ‘energy transition’, the US will seek to topple China as the continent’s leading clean technology supplier and redefine alliances with ‘European partners’ in the region. China has put green issues at the center of its five-year plan and has great potential to exploit offshore wind energy. In addition, its Xinte Energy Group is one of the world’s largest producers of polycrystalline silicon, used in photovoltaic panels. After returning to the Paris Climate Agreement, Joe Biden has signed some measures to increase offshore wind capacity. Despite the pandemic, the offshore wind sector in Europe has accumulated 26.3 billion Euros in new projects in 2020. A year in which solar and wind energy accounted for 10% of global needs.

After Europe, Latin America is the second region in the world where solar or wind energy procurement projects are most widespread. The Spanish company Técnicos Consultores is the most active. The Cox Energy America group, which is majority-owned by the Spanish Cox Energy Solar, will start construction of the Sol de Vallenar photovoltaic project this year: the largest in Latin America, based in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Back in 2014, when he was Obama’s vice president, Biden funded the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI), a plan to facilitate financing for clean energy production in Central America. An area targeted by new US programs, mainly through the Export-Import Bank credit agency and the Development Finance Corporation development bank. In 2019, Brazil accounted for 40% of foreign investment projects for the renewable energy sector, followed by Chile, Mexico and Colombia.

In the recent document “Future cost developments of renewable energy and storage in Latin America”, the IDB considers Mexico and Brazil as the two most attractive countries (despite Bolsonaro). Meanwhile, the IMF has disbursed more than 66 billion dollars to 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, included in a line of credit, obviously conditional on “governance”, in this year of elections and changes demanded by the popular classes. A figure equivalent to more than two-thirds of the liquidity disbursed by the IMF worldwide.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation North America bureau