Latin America Green News: Chile on the verge of HidroAysén decision, Costa Rica increasing carbon neutral businesses, and Mexico requiring transparency on Cabo Dorado
Latin America Green News is a selection of weekly news highlights about environmental and energy issues in Latin America.
June 1st- 6th, 2014
The future of the massive HidroAysén dam project will be decided on Tuesday, June 10th by the Committee of Ministers, Chile’s highest administrative authority. Due to previous comments by President Michele Bachelet and some members of her cabinet, many people are hoping for a rejection of the project. Environmentalists and citizens who have been fighting this project for years maintain that HidroAysén is not a viable energy option for the country especially under the new energy agenda put forth by President Bachelet’s administration. (El Dínamo 6/62014).
The Spanish company, Abengoa, will double its investment in its first solar thermal plant in Latin America from one billion to two billion dollars. The plant, which is located in the Atacama Desert of Chile, will be functional within three years and will be able to produce 220 megawatts and has a predicted 30 year life span. The plant will reduce emissions by 1.3 million tons annually and is the first renewable energy source in Chile that serves as a base load energy source. (El Dínamo 6/1/2014).
One of first items on President Bachelet’s Energy Agenda is to set up a funding mechanism to help co-finance pre-investment studies of qualifying renewable energy projects. A fund of $560 million dollars is available to help fund up to 40% of a project’s feasibility study. Projects up to 50 MW are eligible to apply for the funding. (La Tercera 6/3/2014).
The Technical Standards Institute of Costa Rica (Inteco) has declared that six new businesses have complied with the national carbon neutrality standards. They join the 15 other businesses that have already complied. Now that these businesses are accredited by Inteco, they will need to offset their remaining emissions and implement new technologies to increase energy efficiency; all things that will help save money and emissions. (El Financero 6/2/2014).
About 400,000 wild animals are being held in captivity in Costa Rican homes. Seventy percent of these are parakeets and parrots, and the remaining 30 percent are comprised of monkeys, cats, turtles, snakes and other species. Jorge Hernández, specialist of National Conservation Areas System highlighted the areas where more vigilant protection is needed and noted that while Costa Rica has a law prohibiting citizens from domesticating wild animals; it needs to be more strongly enforced. (CR Hoy 6/3/2014).
Mexico’s environment ministry (Semarnat) made public its final ruling rejecting the Cabo Dorado project that was proposed on land neighboring Cabo Pulmo National Park. According to Semarnat’s ruling, Cabo Dorado failed to provide the information necessary to assess the project’s environmental impact. The final ruling was issued a day before Cabo Dorado’s backers published an open letter claiming they were removing the project from consideration on their own, demonstrating they were merely trying to gain favor with the public and avoid a negative decision on the project. (Excelsior 6/2/2014)
Mexico’s Federal Institute of Access to Information has determined that the Ministries of Communications and Transportation, Treasury and Public Finance, Economy, and Environment and Natural Resources must hand over information related to support given to the foreign companies interested in building the Cabo Dorado project. The federal agencies will have to make pubic all files on the tourism development project. (24 horas 6/5/2014)
A recent study conducted by The Economic Commission for Latin America concludes that in recent years, the transportation sector in Latin America has surpassed 2,000 million tons of oil, representing a third of the regional energy mix. Contributing to this number are Latin American ports, whose movement of containers has increased fourfold from 1997 to 2012. These ports receive 70% of their energy from fossil fuels. The study proposes six ways in which these ports can reduce their energy consumption, including installing energy monitoring systems, clearly identifying their energy sources, and formulating a plan for energy efficiency and consumption reduction. (El Financero 6/2/2014).