Latin America Climate, Energy and Environment News: 8/22-26/2011


On Friday 1,600 signatures were gathered from Coyhaique citizens to force a binding referendum against dams and pylons in Patagonia. Patricio Segura, from the United Patagonia Citizens' Coalition, reported that the signatures were given to the Municipality of Coyhaique to convoke the referendum, after one and a half month of collecting signatures before a notary. (Sur Link 08/19/11)

There is too much controversy over a children's play called "That or that, you reply" that HidroAysén is presenting in the towns of Coyhaique, Cochrane, Villa O'Higgins and Tortel, and which highlights the importance of hydropower over other generation sources like solar and wind power. (El Divisadero 08/23/11)

Legislator of the Concertación, Patricia Ranea, proposed to prepare a statement to give it to the Executive Branch and Congress of the nation to express her “deep concern at the progress of the project to build a hydroelectric dam in the river basin Puelo Republica de Chile, driven by Endesa company, and the urgent need to understand the current state of affairs and progress of the Project and other official information current at time. ""Projects of damming of the Manso and Puelo rivers among others move in silence, despite the expressed opposition raised by environmentalists, residents on both sides of the mountains and authorities of the provinces of Chubut and Rio Negro, who through their legislatures have approved several initiatives in rejection of these projects, "the lawmaker Ranea said. (Agencia Digital de Noticias 08/25/11)

Coyhaique is the most polluted city in southern Chile. As an instance of analysis to improve air quality in the city of Coyhaique, Secretary of State, Maria Ignacia Benitez called the workshop "Strategies for air pollution control," held in the context of her visit to the regional capital.  Deputy Governor, David Sandoval and Pilar Cuevas also participated, and called the community to take steps to clean up the city. "We need will, education and outreach to achieve better air to breathe in Coyhaique and we're working on that with our Plan Aysén" he said. (El Divisadero 08/26/11)

Costa Rica

Twenty-two small hotels and ten major companies in Costa Rica, including Walmart, have saved up to $208,000 per year since 2006 through energy efficiency measures under the Regional Energy Efficiency Project for Industrial and Commercial sectors in Central America. In total, 183 companies throughout the region participated and reduced their electricity consumption by 22,066 MW/hr preventing the release of 31,000 tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. (La Nación 8/26/2011)

Costa Rica’s  Movimiento Libertario Party proposes that private generators be allowed to produce power from geothermal plants in national parks, eliminating the current monopoly of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute in this sector. Under the proposal, geothermal concessions would be granted for up to 25 years and extended for an additional 25 years. Generators holding concessions in natural parks would pay the equivalent of 0.1 % of the electricity generated as an environmental fee. (El País 8/26/2011)

Thirty-eight NGOs and Incopesca, Costa Rica’s Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture, signed a statement against a proposed bill that would allow subsistence fishing in national parks, natural monuments and biological reserves. The proposed change would permit subsistence level fishing from small vessel under monitoring by MINAET and would only apply to the waters around continental protected areas, not around islands. (La Nación 8/23/2011)


The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) in Mexico, the United States and Canada began receiving proposals for projects to be funded for the care of local problems related to the environment. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) reported that those supports are part of the grant program of the North American Alliance for Community Action Agency (NAPEC), signed last June by the three nations. ( 08/23/11)

Mexico will have a national strategy on climate change that will drive eight programs to combat climate change and promote sustainable development, said Nobel laureate Mario Molina. With funding from the Chamber of Deputies and the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT), at Mario Molina Center, who heads the scientific, five regional and three sector studies were conducted to define policies the country will follow to reduce greenhouse gases by 2020. (El Universal 08/22/10)

The federal government will start a pilot program in Puebla for the generation of dry-type geothermal renewable energy extracted from rocks, said Jose Antonio Meade Kuribreña, head of the Energy Secretariat (Sener). Meade said that before the end of the six-year period it will achieve full coverage of electricity in the country since 20 years ago 13 out of 100 families lacked of it, ten years ago, five of every 100 households had no power and in 2010 only two of every 100 houses are deprived of energy. (Econoticias.com08/20/11)

A project called Photovoltaic Parking seek to demonstrate the ability to produce alternative energy by taking advantage of open spaces, whether public or private. The plan is being developed by Schneider Electric for an estimated time of two to three years in which they will install solar panels to produce renewable energy in parking lots, shopping centers, residential homes, and other sunny spaces.  (ACR Latinoamérica 08/23/11)


 Brazil’s state oil company, Petrobras, and Sao Martinho, a sugar and ethanol group, plan to build the worlds’ largest ethanol plant.  The facility is expected to produce 700 million liters of biofuel annually and produce 600,000 mWh of electricity. Petrobras has set an ethanol production goal of 5.6 billion liters by 2015 and expects to spend $1.9 billion by then. (Latin American Herald Tribune, 8/19/2011)

 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.