The South American country of the Plurinational State of Bolivia (Bolivia) is bordered by Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. The population of Bolivia is approximately 12.41 million people.
In 2022, Bolivia’s economy was ranked 89th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy is dependent on the export of gold, natural gas, zinc ore, precious metal ore, and soybean meal.
In 2016, Bolivia signed the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to end illegal deforestation by 2020 and to increase renewable energy to 70% by 2030 from 39% in 2010.
Power Generation Capabilities
In 2021, 98.6% of the people in Bolivia had access to electricity. In 2022, state-owned power company, Empresa Nacional de Electricidad used natural gas (57.9%), renewable energy (39.3%), and oil (2.8%) to generate electricity in Bolivia. Hydropower, biomass, solar, and wind are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Bolivia.
Recent renewable energy projects in Bolivia include:
- 380 MW Hydropower Project – Bolivia’s state-owned power company, Empresa Nacional de Electricidad (ENDE) is advancing the development of 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.
- 100 MW Geothermal Project – Bolivia’s state-owned power company, ENDE is continuing work on the Laguna Colorada geothermal power plant at a site approximately 325 miles south of La Paz. The geothermal project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2024.
- 54 MW Wind Project – In November 2021, Bolivia’s state-owned power company, ENDE commissioned the El Dorado wind project at a site approximately 250 miles southeast of La Paz.
- 40 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 operation of the geothermal pilot plant at a site approximately 325 miles south of La Paz. The geothermal 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. In the 1980s Bolivia became a major natural gas exporter to other South American countries.
In 2021, Bolivia exported U.S. $2.33 Billion in natural gas. In 2022, Bolivia was the 30th largest natural gas exporting country in the world.
On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to place economic sanctions on Russian imports and exports. As a result, the crude oil and natural gas prices 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. Natural gas exports are now funding Bolivia’s renewable energy boom.
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.