Renewable energies in Latin America

Renewable energies in Latin America

Luca Ferrari Pedraglio, researcher at the Geosciences Center of the National Autonomous University of Yucatán (Geociencias UNAM), focuses his work on the study of regional tectonics in Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as on the relationships between magmatism, tectonics and geodynamics with applications for geothermal exploration and for mineral resources.

Within the framework of the Student Energy Summit 2017, held in Mérida, Yucatán, the researcher - who since 2005 has been dedicated to the topic of peak oil (oil depletion) and the implications for the future of energy and the economy - shared for the Conacyt Informative Agency a panorama of renewable energies in Latin America.

“First you have to start from the situation where we are. Latin America as a whole still depends for three-quarters on fossil fuels, 74 percent. Mexico much more, 86 percent. Argentina and Venezuela even more. Brazil has a higher production of renewable energy, it depends only on 56 percent of fossil energy. But we really are a region that depends heavily on these fuels: oil, gas and coal, "he said.

Mexico as a net energy importer

According to Ferrari Pedraglio, assigned with level III to the National System of Researchers (SNI), although Mexico is an exporter of crude oil, it is practically a net importer of energy since 2016. “We import so much gasoline, diesel and gas that, if one does the energy balance, we see that we are importing more energy than we export ”, he indicated.

Since 2004, oil production in Mexico has gone from 3.4 million barrels a day to around 2.0 barrels, according to production data from the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH). Argentina, Chile and Brazil (which produces more oil than Mexico) are oil importers as well. “All the major economies in the region are importers. The transition to renewable energies is therefore urgent ”, he pointed out.

Through energy reform, government policies are currently trying to pick up oil production and mitigate its decline. "They are even thinking of bidding in some areas of the north of the country for the exploitation of unconventional oil and gas, with the technique of hydraulic fracturing or fracking," said the researcher.

Although in Argentina and Brazil the possibility of implementing fracking is also discussed, in the United States it has been found that it represents a resource with high costs and a strong environmental impact, with benefits in the very short term. “It's postponing the problem for a few years. I think there should be a much more determined policy towards the transition to renewables, which is not yet in Mexico ”.

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