Venezuela’s Wasted Renewable Resources

National Economy

The population of the República Bolivariana de Venezuela (Venezuela) is approximately 24.35 million people[1]. In 2019, 100% of the people in this South American country had access to electricity[2].

In 2019, Venezuela’s economy was ranked 76th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export[4] of crude oil.

Environment Policies

In 2005, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez launched “Sembrando Luz,” a program to build “micro-networks” of hybrid wind and solar projects to harness the nation’s vast renewable energy resources.

In 2016, Venezuela signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], committing to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 of “at least 20% relative to business-as-usual projections, conditional on international support.

In 2019, Venezuela’s power companies used renewable energy (58.5%) and natural gas (41.5%) to generate electricity in the country[6]. Hydropower is the dominant source of renewable energy in Venezuela.

In 2019, Venezuela had installed only 5.3 MW of off-grid solar capacity. Sembrando Luz had failed to be implemented due to falling oil prices and corruption in the governments of Hugo Chávez and now, Nicolás Maduro.

Recent renewable energy projects in Venezuela include:

  • Solar Project – In June 2021, Venezuelan Minister, Néstor Torres announced that the first photovoltaic system had been installed into the country’s power grid. No further details of the project have been released.


The first major oil discovery in Venezuela was on the eastern shores of Lake Maracaibo in 1914[7].In 2020, Iraq was the 25th largest oil exporting country in the world,

The export of oil is significant to Venezuela’s economy. In 2020, the export of oil generated over US $3.0 Billion in revenue for the country.

Venezuela has vast undeveloped renewable energy resource potential, including wind, solar, hydropower, and biomass. The country’s renewable energy resource potential could power the country’s entire electric grid.

Venezuela’s economy has been spiraling into an abyss due to government incompetence and corruption. As a result, Venezuela has done virtually nothing to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and is wasting its vast renewable resource potential.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”



[1] Venezuela  Population (2021) –  July 29, 2021,

[2] Venezuela – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Venezuela

[5] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[6] Our World In Data – Venezuela: Energy Country Profile

[7] Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – Venezuela

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