Recognizing the energy transformation is already underway in Americas, the “Connect 2022” Initiative was launched today to close the electricity gap in the region.
In her remarks at the launch of “Connect 2022” Initiative at the CEO Summit of the Americas in at Colombia, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Colombia is a country which has been working to promote clean, affordable cookstoves, and new fuels.
There is no doubt that connecting up the hemisphere and making progress on the provision of electricity, not only to the 30 million who lack it, but also, making it possible for the countries to be bound more closely together throughout the hemisphere, Ms. Clinton added.
She says in the last few years, the countries of this hemisphere have made a major push to bring electricity to those places where it is still in short supply.
“As a result, 93 percent of the people in the Americas now have access which is better than the global rate.” -Ms. Clinton
But despite that, the persistent gap remains, she stressed.
She cites that for those 30 million-plus, electricity is still out of reach.
And for hundreds of millions more, the supply of electric power is unreliable and too expensive, she noted.
She underlines that without electricity in today’s world, there is a limit to how far people’s hard work and abilities can carry them and how advanced their economic prospects can become.
“So we need to make a mission out of this connection goal.” -Ms. Clinton
She notes that the Connecting the Americas 2022 campaign aims to give every person the sustainable energy they need at a price they can afford, so they can live their lives, do their work, educate their children.
The countries in the hemisphere have set a deadline of 10 years.
She pointed out it won’t be easy. Those 30 million-plus who are not yet able to access electricity are the hardest to reach, Ms. Clinton noted.
There’s a need for the countries in the hemisphere to expand power grids, develop effective off-grid solutions to reach remote communities, and more broadly, modernize the power infrastructure throughout the hemisphere, she stressed.
“So not only can we can make power more affordable, reliable, and efficient, but we can make it more economically viable to add renewable energy to the mix.” -Ms. Clinton
She notes that that there are some Caribbean countries that are totally dependent on imported oil and diesel. She adds these beautiful places that are paying much too much for the least clean and, certainly, nonrenewable form of energy.
“So everybody needs to come together here and pull in the same direction. This is an economic opportunity.” -Ms. Clinton
Closing the electricity gap will allow millions more to join the digital and global economy, she added.
It will create more jobs and will connect businesses to new markets, she noted.
Closing the electricity gap will allow millions of women to stop spending so much of their time collecting fuel so they can focus on those aspects of their lives, like educating their children or pursuing even profitable market activities that will add to the family income, she emphasized.
“It will reduce inequality, it will broaden opportunity, and yes, it will strengthen our democracies.” -Ms. Clinton
She says if countries in the hemisphers modernize their energy infrastructure and link their power systems and implement cutting-edge smart grid and power storage technologies and deploy more renewable energy, the Americas will all benefit from cheaper, more reliable power that causes less harm for the environment.
She cites that during the next decade, it is predicted that the Americas region will need to increase its capacity to generate power by 26 percent just to keep up with our projected economic growth.
She stresses there’s a need to start now to lay the groundwork to attract future investment and secure long-term prosperity.
Energy transformation is already underway, she added.
“Every country in the Americas is using more renewable energy.” -Ms. Clinton
Several countries have already connected their power systems, resulting in fewer blackouts, and now they’re working on how to expand those links, she cited.
The United States is providing financial and technical support through the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, which President Obama launched at the last Summit in 2009, Ms. Clinton said.
She announces that the United States will increase its support today.
In addition to helping nations across the hemisphere use smart grid and renewable energy technology, the US government is working with Central American nations to address the market and regulatory barriers that impede energy trade as they near the completion of the SIEPAC line linking six Central American nations.
The United States has also funded studies to explore the feasibility of underwater energy connections in the Caribbean, she added.
“So let’s take the advantage of this summit in Cartagena to start an energized, focused campaign to connect the Americas.” -Ms. Clinton
She stresses that people will look back in a decade to the CEO summit, to this commitment by the leaders, having this on the agenda for the Summit of the Americas, and really be able to say it made a difference.
On November, massive blackout plunged the majority of Chile’s population into darkness seven weeks ago illustrates the fragile state of the Chilean electric system Latin America’s electric systems.
The United States produces more electricity from wind energy than any other country – enough to power 10 million homes – but this still represents only 2.3% of total power generation in the United States. By comparison, Denmark now derives 20% of its electricity from wind power, and several other Western European countries are above 10%.
According to the UN;
UN reports an estimated 1.5 billion people still do not have access to electricity, and around 3 billion people rely on traditional biomass and coal as their primary source of energy.