Industry players, stakeholders, and business leaders convened to discuss some of the real nuts and bolts of renewables in Latin America at The Madrid Energy Virtual Conference held on September 28th – October 2nd, 2020.
They examined the key role storage and distribution will play as transmission takes a back seat, what it will take for electric vehicles to enter and expand throughout the Latin American market, and the real economics of going green.
In their words, Manuel Perez Dubuc, Fluence’s executive director, said that power storage is no longer the holy grail for renewable energy because it is a proven technology that offers many benefits, such as flexibility, versatility, low costs, and minimal environmental impact, unlike power transmission lines.
In response, Paola Hartung, Chilean Association of Renewable Energy and Storage’s vice president said that Chile and Colombia are the Latin American countries where storage is advancing faster due to the regulations introduced.
In Argentina, Andrés Chambouleyron, a non-resident partner of the Institute of the Americas and managing director at Berkeley Research Group, said there are problems for lack of electricity transmission capacity because the renewables generate far from the centers of consumption.
José Ignacio Escobar, Acciona’s general director of Energy for South America, commented that it is necessary to look for ways to increase storage, which can also be used to offer ancillary services and to bring electricity to remote areas.
When asked whether transmission lines, distribution or storage will have the greatest impact on global electricity supply expansion and reliability over the next decade, 50% of respondents agreed that storage will be key.
Another 36% thought distributed generation would be more important.
Notably, when asked whether energy storage technology can effectively defer or replace transmission system infrastructure upgrades, the participants were split 50/50. The panelists, however, agreed 100% that it can.
The panelists and participants were more in line when asked whether battery energy storage is the linchpin to unleashing large-scale deployment of renewable energy in Latin America: All panelists said yes, and 85% of the participants did, as well.