Soaring Natural Gas Prices Fueling Bolivia’s Renewable Energy Boom

National Economy

The population of the Plurinational State of Bolivia (Bolivia) is approximately 12.03 million people[1]. In 2020, 97.55% of the people in this country in in western-central South America had access to electricity[2].

In 2021, Bolivia’s economy was ranked 94th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export[4] of natural gas, gold, zinc ore, precious metals, raw tin, and soybean meal.

Environment Policies

In 2016, Bolivia signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], committing to end illegal deforestation by 2020 and to increase renewable energy to 70% by 2030 from 39% in 2010.

In 2021, power companies used natural gas (58.8 %) and renewable energy (41.2 %) to generate electricity in Bolivia[6]. Hydropower is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Bolivia.

Recent renewable energy projects in Bolivia include:

  • 380 MW Hydropower Project – In December 2021, Bolivia’s state-owned power company, Empresa Nacional de Electricidad (ENDE) issued a call for expressions of interest to build the Cañahuecal hydroelectric project on the Grande River in central Bolivia.
  • 100 MW Solar Project – In February 2021, Bolivia’s state-owned power company, ENDE commissioned the Oruro solar plant at a site approximately 120 miles southeast of the nation’s administrative capital, La Paz.
  • 54 MW Wind Project – In November 2021, Bolivia’s state-owned power company, ENDE commissioned the El Dorado Wind Farm at a site approximately 250 miles southeast of La Paz.
  • 6 MW Wind Project – In September 2021, Bolivia’s state-owned power company, ENDE commissioned the San Julian Wind Farm at a site approximately 300 miles east-southeast of La Paz.
  • 14 MW Wind Project – In November 2020, Bolivia’s state-owned power company, ENDE commissioned the Warnes Wind Farm at a site approximately 225 miles southeast of La Paz
  • 5 MW Geothermal Project – In April 2022, Spanish infrastructure company, Sacyr commenced operations on the pilot plant for the Laguna Colorada geothermal project at a site approximately 325 miles south of La Paz. The pilot plant will supply power for the construction of the 100 MW Laguna Colorada geothermal power plant.


In 1920, oil was discovered in the Andean foothills in southeastern Bolivia[7]. In 1980s Bolivia became a major natural gas exporting nation to other South American countries.

In 2020, natural gas exports generated U.S. $2.02 Billion in revenue for the country[8]. In 2021, Bolivia was the 26th largest natural gas exporting country[9] in the world.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting in the United States, Canada, and the European Union to place embargos on Russian exports, including fossil fuels. As a result, the price for natural gas has increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

Bolivia has vast undeveloped renewable energy resources, including hydropower, solar, onshore wind, geothermal, and biomass. The country’s renewable energy resources could meet the country’s entire electricity demands.

Soaring natural gas prices are fueling Bolivia’s renewable energy project boom.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


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 numerous energy related topics.


[1] Bolivia (2022) –  September 29, 2022,

[2] The World Bank Group, Access to Electricity (% of Population – Bolivia

[3] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2021 – Worldometer

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

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

[6] Our World In Data, Bolivia: Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

[7] Encyclopedia Britannica – Hydrocarbons of Bolivia

[8] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Bolivia Exports

[9] Natural Gas Exports By Country 2021 by Daniel Workman

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