LIMA: If Australia trade minister Andrew Robb hopes to use his visit to Peru to find a new customer for thermal coal, he will be sorely disappointed.
Peru, the host country of the current international negotiations on climate change, has announced a new renewable energy target of 60 per cent, and will use an accelerated solar program to deliver electricity to those who currently do not have access.
The country’s current electricity mix is currently 54 per cent gas with the rest of it from hydro. It built its first wind farm just three years ago, and has only a few thousand houses with solar. It now intends to lift the renewable target to 60 per cent by 2025 with major investments in wind and solar, geothermal and gas, and gradually wind back its dependence on gas.
The plans include a program to install 500,000 solar arrays to lift the access to electricity to 99 per cent from the current level of 92 per cent by 2019. Most of these are in rural areas. Of course, they see no need to use coal to end energy poverty.
In the longer term, Peru says it aims to substitute gas with a mix of renewables including hydro, solar, wind, and geothermal. It is estimated that Peru has some 3,000GW of geothermal energy potential, but this has yet to be exploited.
In the shorter term, however, Peru says it will expand its gas infrastructure to ensure security of supply and to support decentralised power generation..
“Peruvian emissions are relatively low, nevertheless, the Peruvian government wants to present ambitious goals and actions in the energy sector at the COP20,” Edwin Quintanilla, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Energy and Mines, said in a presentation on the sidelines of the talks.
Other initiatives include mass transport projects in major cities and to promote the use of natural gas as a fuel for passenger and freight transport, including taxis, and co-generation to replace boilers and electrical engines.
It also plans to foster an energy efficiency program, including new standards for new cars and appliances, and to integrate its energy systems with neighbours Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia and Brazil.
Chile is one of the leading renewable energy markets in the world, with energy demand soaring because of its strong mining industry. Large scale solar plants being built without subsidies and are selling into the spot market, new solar thermal and storage plants are being built, and investment in wind, geothermal and hydro is also strong.
Brazil also held a recent auction for large scale solar, securing he cheapest ever unsubsidised bids for large solar plants.