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European banks fight Central American pollution

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


The European Investment Bank is providing $230 million to boost renewable energy projects in Central America, which produces a lot of greenhouse gases.

Few local governments or local investors can afford big projects, including many hydroelectric dams.

Foreigners are often reluctant to make major investments, in an area which they see as unstable.

On the other hand, affordable capital from the European Investment Bank will cut the cost of projects throughout Central America.

Panama recently announced what will be Latin America’s biggest wind-farm.

Honduras and Nicaragua have already launched major aeolic projects, while Costa Rica gets 4 percent of its electricity from wind power.

El Salvador has potential for developing geothermal sources – steam from under the earth’s crust.

Nicaragua is investing in a number of geothermal sources, while Costa Rica has for several years generated 200 megawatts – about 8 percent of average demand - in its Miravalles geothermal plant.

Most Central American countries are looking at increased production of biofuels, such as jatropha and soy, which can cut consumption of diesel in motor vehicles by as much as 15 percent.

Solar energy could grow quickly, in an area with ample sunshine.

Oil-burning power plants should switch to natural gas, which produces a third less carbon dioxide than diesel or bunker, which are currently used.

Currently, as much as three quarters of the region’s energy comes from burning bunker of diesel.

Switching to gas means a significant investment in gas ports and pipelines.

We’ll see how much new loans can help.