Renewable Energy Helping El Salvador To Kick Its Dependence On Imported Oil And Natural Gas

National Economy

The population of the Republic of El Salvador is approximately 6.55 million people[1]. In 2021, 100 % of the people in this Central American country had access to electricity[2].

In 2021, the Salvadorian economy was ranked 104th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[3]. The country’s economy is based on the export[4] of knit clothing, electrical capacitors, raw sugar, plastic lids, and coffee.

Environment Policies

In 2016, El Salvador signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], committing to develop plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions from its land use sector by 2016 and its power sector by 2017.

In 2021, power companies used renewable energy (70.4 %), oil (26.4 %), and natural gas (3.2%)  to generate electricity in El Salvador[6]. Geothermal, hydropower, and solar are the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in El Salvador.

Recent renewable energy projects in El Salvador include:

  • 140 MW Solar + 3.2 MW Energy Storage Project – In December 2020, French renewable energy company, Neon commissioned the Capella Solar project at a site approximately 50 miles southeast of the nation’s capital, San Salvador.
  • 100 MW Solar Projects – In January 2020, American power company, AES commissioned the Bósforo Project, which consists of ten 10 MW solar projects in communities in the northern region of the country.
  • 96 MW Geothermal Projects – In February 2022, the government of El Salvador has announced plans to increase the nation’s geothermal power capacity from 204 MW to 300 MW. The government anticipates building three new geothermal power plants over the next few years.
  • 68 MW Solar Project – In April 2020, French renewable energy company, Neoen commissioned the Capella Solar PV Park 1 at a site approximately 60 miles southeast of San Salvador.
  • 54 MW Wind Project – In July 2021, Guatemalan power company, Tracia Network Corporation commissioned the Ventus Wind Project, which is El Salvador’s first wind farm. The wind farm is located at a site approximately 60 miles northwest of San Salvador.
  • 21 MW Solar Project – Dutch renewable energy company, MPC Energy Solutions is continuing work on a solar project at a site approximately 90 miles east of San Salvador. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2023.

Conclusions

El Salvador imports all its oil and natural gas for power generation, heating, and transportation. In 2020, the  nation spent U.S. $639 Million for imported refined petroleum and U.S. $256 Million for liquified natural gas.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, resulting in the United States, Canada, and the European Union placing embargos on Russian exports. As a result, the price for crude oil has increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

El Salvador has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including geothermal, hydropower, offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, and biomass. The dramatic rise in the price of oil and natural gas is causing El Salvador to accelerate the development of new renewable energy projects.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jack kerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on a wide range of energy topics.

[1] El Salvador Population (2022) –  August 6, 2022, www.worldometers.info

[2] World Bank, “Access To Electricity (% Population) – El Salvador”

[3] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2021 – Worldometer

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

[5] Carbon Brief – “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Pledges” www.carbonbriefing.org

[6] Our World In Data, El Salvador: Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Rose

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