Energy Efficiency Sector reflects on the challenges of Latin America in the context of the pandemic

As part of the celebration of World Energy Saving Day, representatives from three projects in the energy sector exchanged experiences, best practices, and perspectives towards clean energy in Latin America.

October 28, 2020, San José, Costa Rica The COVID-19 virus pandemic demonstrated that the transformation of energy sources and the implementation of public energy efficiency policies must not be postponed any longer.

Representatives from the projects "Mitigation of greenhouse gases (GHG) and adaptation to the impacts of climate change in Latin America by strengthening energy efficiency in the energy sectors of Argentina and Chile", "Implementing climate and energy efficiency policies in Oaxaca in the public and private sectors" and "Training for the certification of professionals and the accreditation of companies in energy efficiency" took part in the first Webinar in the Energy Efficiency sector held on October 21 to celebrate World Energy Saving Day. These projects are part of EUROCLIMA+, a programme financed by the European Union and implemented by the implementing agencies the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the French Development Agency (AFD).

The first intervention was made by Mr. Rafael García, Director of Spanish Cooperation in Costa Rica, who highlighted the role of sustainable energy production and consumption for the mitigation of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and he pointed out the disparity in the progress made by Latin American countries in terms of energy efficiency, while highlighting the fundamental role of the EUROCLIMA+ programme in this region, due to its initiatives in promoting policies and strengthening capacities.

Mr. Ignacio Santelices, Executive Director of the Energy Sustainability Agency (AgenciaSE) of Chile, presented the panel "Energy transition and sustainable recovery in Latin America" referring to the historical evolution of humanity in terms of energy and human development.

Santelices spoke about the current economic and climate problems in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, highlighting the existence of an opportunity: sustainability as a "green business", given its short period of recovery.

"After the Covid crisis, together with the economic recession that is hitting all our countries very hard, will come the climate change crisis, which has been announced for decades by scientists around the world, and we have not listened to them enough," Santelices warned.

He also referred to positive experiences with energy efficiency in countries such as Japan or the United States, and he presented to the virtual public Chile's carbon neutral plan, together with initiatives for the reactivation of the economy based on energy efficiency in his country.

The next panellist was Gabriela Rijter, Director of Renewable Energies at the Argentine Secretariat of Energy.

During her presentation, she spoke about how the COVID-19 context modified energy demand behaviour in her country by increasing residential consumption and reducing consumption by industry and marketing. Given this panorama, immediate action was taken to ensure access to energy for the most vulnerable populations.

"Since March, when we have all been at home, measures have been taken for the whole population, especially the most vulnerable, affected by the pandemic. As far as public services are concerned, since March, the cutting off of electricity in the event of non-payment of bills has been prohibited. This has been extended until December 2020, given that the pandemic continues. This essential service for human development cannot be cut off," she said, adding that countries must come up with long-term sustainable and cost-effective solutions.

"What is the starting point for us to think about an energy efficiency initiative and policy? It is to understand and know how energy is used; to have information about the existing equipment, and then to understand consumption well in order to orient policies towards sectors that have more potential," Rijter pointed out.

Towards the decarbonisation of energy in Latin America

During the second part of the event, Mr. Floriberto Vásquez, head of the Technical Unit, International Affairs and Cooperation of the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Sustainable Development of Oaxaca (SEMAEDESO), shared with the participants the route towards energy efficiency that this Mexican state has taken, focusing mainly on the industrial sector, public lighting, and water pumping,

Finally, Mario Cáceres, Director of Energy Efficiency at El Salvador's National Energy Council (CNE), gave a presentation on the country's public policies, whose strategy is based on the efficient use of goods and services combined with the efficiency of end-use energy systems.

During his presentation, Cáceres addressed his project justification based on energy security, competitiveness, adaptation to climate change and the transversal nature of energy efficiency in Salvadoran national policy.

To learn more about the presentations and topics covered during the Webinar, we invite you to review the complete video available at the following link:


EUROCLIMA+  is a programme financed by the European Union to promote environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient development in 18 Latin American countries, particularly for the benefit of the most vulnerable populations. The Programme is implemented under the synergistic work of seven agencies: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the French Development Agency (AFD), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Expertise France (EF), International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), and UN Environment.