Surge In Renewable Projects In Ecuador!

National Economy

The population of the Republic of Ecuador is approximately 18.32 million people[1]. In 2020, 98.85 % of the people in this South American country had access to electricity[2].

In 2021, Ecuador’s economy was ranked 62nd in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export[4] of crude oil, bananas, crustaceans, processed fish, cut flowers, and cocoa beans.

Environmental Policies

In 2016, Ecuador signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], committing to an unconditional 20.4% to 25% reduction in energy sector greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, compared to business-as-usual levels,

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2021, power companies used renewable energy (83.5 %), oil  (12.9 %), and natural gas (3.6 %) to generate electricity in Ecuador[6]. Hydropower is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Ecuador.

Recent renewable energy projects in Ecuador include:

  • 345 MW Solar Tender – In January 2023, Ecuador’s Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) has awarded six solar projects to companies, which have a total capacity of 345.3 MW.
  • 258 MW Solar Project – In December 2022, Spanish company, Solarpack commissioned on the  “El Aromo” solar project at a site approximately 125 miles southwest of the nation’s capital, Quito.
  • 150 MW Hydropower Tender – In January 2023, Ecuador’s Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) has awarded two hydropower projects to companies, which have a total capacity of 150 MW.
  • 44.8 MW Wind Tender – In January 2023, Ecuador’s Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) has awarded only one onshore wind project to a company, which have a total capacity of 44.8 MW.
  • 8 MW Solar + 40.9 MWh Energy Storage Project – Spanish solar company, Gransolar and French power company Total Eren are continuing work on a solar plus energy storage project on the on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos National Park.

Conclusions

In 1967, major oil reserves were discovered in the Ecuadorian Amazon region[7]. In 1972, Ecuador became a major oil exporting nation.

In 2020, crude oil exports generated over U.S. $4.94 Billion in revenue for the country. In 2021, Ecuador was the 22nd largest oil exporting country[8] in the world.

Ecuador has vast undeveloped renewable energy resources, including hydropower, solar, onshore wind, offshore wined, and biomass.  The nation’s renewable energy resources could easily replace all the oil and natural gas fueled power plants, which provided 16.5 % of the nation’s electricity in 2021.

Why the recent surge in new renewable energy projects in Ecuador? Economics pure and simple! Ecuador’s government intends to use renewable energy for domestic power, preserving oil resources for export.

This why the recent surge in renewable projects.

 

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.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 numerous energy related topics.

 

[1] Ecuador Population (2023) –  January 16, 2023, www.worldometers.info

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

[3] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2021 – Worldometer

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

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

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

[7] University of Sussex, “Oil in Ecuador.” November 12, 2013

[8] Crude Oil Exports By Country 2021 by Daniel Workman

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