The way forward for renewable energy in Central America: status assessment, best practices, Gap analysis

The way forward for renewable energy in Central America: status assessment, best practices, Gap analysis

Report summarising the current state of renewable energy development in Central America.

Produced by the Energy and Environment Partnership with Central America, this report summarises the current state of renewable energy development in the seven countries that comprise the Central American region. The report begins by outlining the status and potential of conventional versus renewable energy, noting a growing dependency on fossil fuels before examining each renewable sector in turn. Socioeconomic opportunities represented by renewables are then discussed, such as the hidden externalities associated with fossil fuels, domestic job creation, and women's empowerment through clean energy. The investment climates, sources of finance, and investment barriers are then covered, before an assessment of existing renewable energy support mechanisms is presented, including governance and administrative efficiency, and evidence of wider cooperation.

The report makes a number of recommendations, firstly addressing knowledge, information, and communication gaps:

    • Perform additional resource assessments and make them publicly available alongside previous assessments. Despite many private and public country-wide assessments having been conducted, few are shared publicly; remedying this would aid multi-stakeholder coordination.

    • Integrate technical solutions in order to develop renewables in the most cost-efficient way. Variability in power production can be managed so that baseload needs are met and overproduction avoided. Streamlined processes are also required to guarantee connection to electricity grids for a variety of renewable sources.

    • The full socioeconomic impacts of different climate scenarios need to be assessed and communicated effectively for each country in the region.

    • Build capacity in research, public awareness, and the private sector, in order to facilitate greater cooperation and understanding.

Secondly, with the aim of strengthening policies and enabling investment:

    • The integration of diverse development goals is required, with resource limitations excluding the creation of new dedicated renewable agencies for much of the region. Existing agencies should instead be strengthened.

    • Existing policies should be reviewed and the policy mix refined, a measure wholly lacking in some countries, and international best practice should be sought.

    • Administrative processes should be streamlined, with complex and non-transparent permitting avoided.

    • Metrics must be established for progress, with climate goals made measurable, reportable, and verifiable (MRV), often a prerequisite for receiving credit and financial support.

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