Global Energy Monitor
  • Sophia Bauer, Kasandra O’Malia, Shradhey Prasad, Gregor Clark, and Ingrid Behrsin

Latin America has the potential to increase its utility-scale solar and wind power capacity by more than 460% by 2030 if all 319 gigawatts (GW) of prospective new projects in the region come online, according to a new report from Global Energy Monitor.

Together with existing distributed and smaller-scale solar capacity, Latin America will be on track to meet, and potentially surpass, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2030 regional net zero renewable energy goals if it implements all of its prospective larger-scale projects.

The region’s top five countries in terms of prospective utility-scale solar and wind capacity additions are:

  1. Brazil (217 GW)
  2. Chile (38 GW)
  3. Colombia (37 GW)
  4. Peru (10 GW)
  5. Mexico (7 GW)

The top five countries in terms of current operating utility-scale solar and wind are:

  1. Brazil (27 GW)
  2. Mexico (20 GW)
  3. Chile (10 GW)
  4. Argentina (5 GW)
  5. Uruguay (2 GW)

With a collective capacity of over 57 GW, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico make up almost 84% of the existing 69 GW of currently operating utility-scale solar and wind farms in the region. But while Brazil, Chile, and Colombia stand at the vanguard of the renewables race, Mexico has fallen behind; ultimately only set to reach 70% of its pledge to bring 40 GW of solar and wind by 2030 – even if all prospective projects come online.

While distributed solar may be at the crux of the renewables transition in Latin America, the region is also at a major inflection point when it comes to supporting important utility-scale projects that could turn it into a global energy giant

Kasandra O'Malia, Project Manager, Global Solar Power Tracker

The renewables race is accelerating quickly, which means countries that have ramped up efforts like Brazil and Colombia, must remain vigilant while creating large-scale solar and wind projects. Latin America can become a world benchmark for a just energy transition if future projects respect ecological balances and bring not only economic, but also social benefits.

Sophia Bauer, Researcher at Global Energy Monitor

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