Representatives and delegations of the Member Countries of the Latin American Energy Organization (Olade) in the L Meeting of Ministers, which was held in virtual modality, on Thursday, November 19, 2020, within the framework of the V Energy Week, discussed the following as central themes: economic reactivation, job creation and promoting an inclusive and sustainable energy transition.
The opening of the inaugural session was attended by the Minister of Energy and Mines of the Dominican Republic, Antonio Almonte; the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and incoming President of the L Meeting of Ministers of Olade, Franklin Khan; and the Executive Secretary of Olade, Alfonso Blanco.
The Minister of Energy and Mines of the Dominican Republic, Antonio Almonte, explained that he had assumed the presidency of Olade last August as a result of having replaced Dr. Antonio Isa Conde after his appointment in the MEM. “Since our appointment in the Ministry of Energy and Mines of the Dominican Republic, we have assumed the commitments agreed by the Dominican State when it agreed to preside over the XLIX Meeting of Ministers of OLADE.”
Minister Almonte reported that the organization offered support to all projects related to accelerating the region’s energy transition by promoting the integration of renewable energy sources.
He also reported that he supported the promotion of improvements in energy planning systems and the strengthening and harmonization of information systems through the development and use of tools that allowed the achievement of important advances.
As part of the agenda of the Meeting of Ministers, the Minister of Energy and Mines of the Dominican Republic handed over the Presidency of the meeting to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, a country represented by the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, Franklin Khan.
For his part, Minister Franklin Khan thanked the Minister of the Dominican Republic for the work his country has done to promote Olade’s agenda. “This has happened in the context of a pandemic that altered the systems in which we normally move and for that reason it is not a small task to achieve as much as we have done. It is a pleasure for Trinidad and Tobago to reaffirm the commitment to Olade”, he stated.
He also pointed out that this type of forum makes it possible to show in a tangible way that when the Caribbean and Latin American countries work together, common objectives can be achieved, particularly in the energy sector.
In addition, he mentioned that “as energy matrices evolve they require all our effort and focus. I know that if we make a well thought out and managed transition, we will be successful. Let Olade, Latin America and the Caribbean be a global voice in this energy transition.”
The Minister of Energy and Energy Industries of Trinidad and Tobago at the end of his speech said “Trinidad and Tobago will continue to work with its responsibilities in Olade, because we know the benefits of this joint work that we are doing to work on a shared energy agenda.”
The Executive Secretary of Olade, Alfonso Blanco, at the beginning of his speech expressed his solidarity from Olade with the countries of the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, due to the climate catastrophe they are experiencing. “Our call to all our member countries to provide support and assistance fundamentally to reestablish electricity service and heavily affected infrastructure.”
In this same context, he made a public call for joint regional action. “Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the geographical areas with the greatest impact from the effects of climate change. We are suffering the climatic consequences of a historical economic development that did not include us. Latin America and the Caribbean today contributes less than 5% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and that percentage historically has never been higher, but our region is one of the areas of the planet most affected by global warming and we are seeing its devastating capacity”, he stressed.
“As a strong defender and promoter of efficient multilateralism, I am convinced that it is necessary to use and support effective multilateral platforms that provide real value to the region, to support sustainable regional recovery processes, act as facilitators, create a political dialogue of high strategic content and work on joint actions that allow us to attack the problems of our region, create jobs, take advantage of existing potentials, exchange experiences, innovate and adapt our energy systems to disruptive technologies.”
The inaugural session of the L Meeting of Ministers of Olade featured keynote speeches by Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Francesco La Camera, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, in relation to last year’s Meeting of Ministers held in Lima-Peru mentioned that “the Olade ministers gave us the mandate to continue working together to harmonize the statistics of the energy sector. For us they are the backbone of good energy policies. I am very happy to continue working with Olade to provide them with good quality information.”
Regarding the current world crisis, he indicated that a “shock is being experienced in the energy sector such as has not been experienced since the Second World War”, he stressed. “The energy demand globally has decreased this year by approximately 5%. After the financial crisis of 2008 – 2009 the demand for energy consumption also fell. But the decline this year is 7 times greater.”
“The markets in the oil sector observe that this year demand will decrease by approximately 9%. Global gas markets are down 3%, the largest in the industry.” In this same context, he pointed out that “once we have controlled the virus and the economies recover, the energy sector will recover, but it will have obstacles for many years”
The IEA Executive Director also emphasized that global emissions decreased by approximately 7%, but stressed that this has happened not because new clean energy technologies have been incorporated, but because we are suffering from a pandemic.
In addition, he affirmed that at a global level, total investments in energy are decreasing by 20% compared to the other years, because many companies are in survival mode, reducing investments and personnel. “We are going through a great wave of unemployment in the sector”, he added.
“Economic recovery, which is the main concern of governments, and the transition to clean energy are not mutually exclusive, but they can only be achieved if the correct energy policies are implemented”, he said.
Francesco La Camera, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, at the beginning of his speech, mentioned “energy is no longer discussing technology and costs, now it is an investment strategy in any transition, including any economic and environmental priority.”
He reported that in IRENA’s agenda for the next 3 years, it is estimated an investment of more than 2 million dollars per year globally. He also indicated that “we see a key role in investment, supporting innovation such as the green hydrogen economy or new industrial processes.”
“Renewable Energies before the pandemic were becoming the most convenient way to produce energy. Not only do they compete with the option of fossil fuels, but it also improves them”, he pointed out.
The General Secretary of GECF, Yury Sentyurin, and Joseph McMonigle Secretary General of IEF also participated in this instance through institutional greetings.
As is customary at the Meeting of Ministers, the Ministerial Dialogue was held, a discussion at the Political Ministerial level on the role that the energy sector will play in the post-pandemic period. With the purpose of exchanging visions, objectives and lines of action for a comprehensive approach to the problem, which involves the different realities of a diverse and multifaceted region. In this space, the Head of the Energy Division of the Inter-American Development Bank, Ariel Yépez, mentioned the most relevant actions discussed during the dialogue:
1.- Application of containment measures to the displacement of the population; temporary suspension of payments, reduction of rates and support with training to generate employment in the sector.
2.- Renewables; fundamental point to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the importance for the creation of jobs. He also mentioned the 3.- Initiative “Renewables in Latin America and the Caribbean” RELAC; bringing together the common interest of several countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the share of renewable energies. – Solar and wind power generation also stood out due to its contribution to the growth of the energy supply in the region in the last year.
3.- Natural gas; the use of natural gas as a transition fuel to support the energy transition agenda and economic reactivation in the hydrocarbon sector.
4.- Transport sector; promote the transformation of this sector towards natural gas and electricity.
5.- Integration: recognize the importance of energy integration as a viable mechanism to overcome the crisis, due to its ability to move investments.
6.- Innovation; promote innovation in the region’s energy systems and the participation of hydrogen in the energy matrix. Digitization in the energy sector to improve its efficiency.
- The role of international organizations; to alleviate the crisis by promoting studies in the sector, financing and support in regional initiatives.
Find here all the videos of the sessions of the V Energy Week:
and Institutional Relations