The Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global health emergency and economic crisis that is affecting the energy landscape around the world. In Latin America, the devastating impacts of these crises is compounded by an already fragile economic outlook in many countries, which face a large proportion of informal employment and the lack of access to adequate housing for millions of citizens.
Thanks to the sustained policy commitments to promote hydropower and biofuels over the past decades, Latin America today boasts one of the highest shares of renewables in power generation and transport. Looking ahead, the region has the opportunity to leverage its world‑class solar and wind resources, as well as to harness the multiple benefits of energy efficiency to build more sustainable, inclusive and resilient energy systems. Decreasing energy demand and prices, as well as the rapid fall in fossil fuel prices, could have lasting impacts for the region’s energy landscape, and could prevent the region from tapping its potential for further global leadership on clean energy. In several countries across Latin America, major oil and gas projects are facing delays and additional financing difficulties, whilst decision‑makers face the challenge of protecting jobs, economic development and security of supply.
While governments are rightly focusing their immediate efforts on protecting the health and safety of their citizens, attention is also turning to addressing the medium to long-term implications of the crisis, raising key questions in regard to government’s roles in defining a pathway towards a sustainable recovery, managing the impact on the oil and gas sector, as well as ensuring that no one is left behind in the next phase of energy development.
With abundant renewable and non-renewable resources and growing energy demand in the medium- to long-term, the energy sector has the potential to become one of the motors of Latin America’s economic recovery from Covid-19. To achieve this, the region needs to be able to secure sufficient investment across its energy sector, a challenging task even before the pandemic. In particular, investments in energy innovation could help tap the region’s energy resource potential, while fostering further development of the region’s thriving innovation ecosystem.
With limited public resources available, targeted sustainable recovery efforts in the energy sector could enable policy-makers in Latin America to protect jobs and create new ones, improve the living conditions of their citizens while continuing to move forward towards lower emissions and increased sustainability. Concerted action, regional dialogue and international support for policy implementation are needed to help countries respond to this crisis. Outcomes from the roundtable will feed into IEA’s enhanced work with Latin American partners as well as into OLADE’s 50th Meeting of Ministers.
- To take stock of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impacts across the energy sector in Latin American, as well as the actions being taken to address these impacts, addressing both the power and the oil& gas sector;
- To share views on which sustainable and resilient recovery efforts can deliver the greatest benefits for the region in a cost-effective way, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
- To seek guidance on how the IEA can best support the region in pursuit and implementation of sustainable and resilient recovery efforts as well as development of a new regional agenda for the Post-Covid-19 era.