Climate, Energy and Environment News from Latin America: 10.11 - 10.15.2010


Chile’s mining industry was the center of global attention this week, as the 33 trapped miners were rescued on Wednesday. (New York Times, 10/13/10).  In addition, a new report found that in the past decade alone, Chile’s mining industry has almost doubled its greenhouse gas emissions, largely due to old, inefficient mines and the coal-fired plants that power them. (Santiago Times, 10/11/10).

A Chilean delegation led by Energy Minister Ricardo Raineri traveled to Paris this week to begin discussions about Chile’s membership in the International Energy Association and solidify Chile’s new membership in the OECD. (, 10/14/10)  While in Europe, Minister Raineri and several Senate Mining and Energy Committee members visited the world’s largest solar power Sanlúcar, plant with an output capacity of 200 megawatts located outside of Seville, Spain.  The government is considering implementing this type of power facility in northern Chile. (El Mercurio, 10/12/10)

A new bill sent to Congress by Energy Minister Raineri would expedite the processing of electrical concessions, especially in the construction of transmission lines. (El Mercurio, 10/12/10)

In the Patagonia Region of Aysén, government agencies are maintaining a yellow alert for Lake Cachet II; the lake’s high water level could potentially cause a glacial lake outburst flood at any time. (El Divisadero, 10/14/10)  Also in Aysén, local NGOs and entrepreneurs attended a seminar on the “ethics of development of Aysén,” where they discussed the best ways to develop the region sustainably. (El Divisadero, 10/12/10)

Within the next three months, Energia Austral will decide if and who to partner with on its 3 planned hydroelectric plants.  Four investors are interested in partnering with Energía Austral. (La Tercera, 10/13/10)

The Chilean company, Ecopower invests $400 million in wind farms in Los Vilos and Puerto Montt, Chile. (El Diario Financiero, 10/13/10)

Costa Rica:

The testimony phase of the Crucitas mine trial is extended till October 25 to accommodate all witnesses. (La Nación, 10/11/10)  The former technical secretary of the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA), Sonia Espinoza Valverde, attempted to avoid testifying and claims that the environmental impact assessment for the Crucitas mine was handled correctly. (La Nación, 10/15/10)

The United States approves $27 million in debt for nature swap for Costa Rica.  $23.1 million will come in the form of debt relief from the U.S. government and $3.9 million will be donated by The Nature Conservancy  to implement conservation initiatives in the Térraba-Sierpe and Naranjo.-Savegre mangroves of the Osa Peninsula, and La Amistad Biosphere Reserve. (La Nación, 10/15/10)

Aeroméxico opens two “green flights” from Mexico City to San Jose, Costa Rica aimed at reducing emissions through fuel saving techniques and onboard sustainability measures. Costa Rica’s National Ecotourism Chamber has an initiative to offset 20% of all CO2 emissions produced by flights to Costa Rica. (El Financiero CR, 10/13/10)

Costa Rica participants, including solar panel retailers, joined in the global effort led by to reduce carbon emissions on 10/10/10. (El Financiero CR, 10/12/10)

The German –Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce and Industry will organize a study tour for business and government representatives to learn about legal, financial and technical issues in the German renewable energy sector.  The goal is to strengthen business ties between German and Central American companies working on solar, wind and biomass. (El Financiero CR, 10/13/10)


Secretary of the Environment, Martha Delgado and Minister of Tourism, Alejandro Rojas debut 22 new tour buses that run on biodiesel and diesel to reduce emission of pollutants. (La Crónica de Hoy, 10/12/10)

The Government of Guanajuato, Mexico will invest 110 million pesos to build the largest photovoltaic park in Latin America.  The park will generate 9.5 million kilowatts of power a year. (CNN Expansió, 10/11/10)

Puerto Chiapas opens the first biodiesel research center as part of the Mesoamerica Project.  The government of Chiapas may install solar panels to complement the energy consumption of the plant with up to 50% energy savings. (Milenio, 10/15/10)

The Tlalnepantla state of Mexico will soon operate a biogas project that utilizes landfill gas to produce electricity to be used on roads and public squares in the county. (Informador, 10/15/10)

Approximately 2,000 tons of electronic waste in the Torreón, Coahuila region of Mexico needs proper disposal. (Milenio Diario, 10/12/10)


Note: The linked articles and excerpts in this post are provided for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Natural Resources Defense Council.