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RELACCX: Renewable Energy Industry Leaders Hold Bright Outlook for Latin American and Caribbean Markets

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- At the inaugural Renewable Energy Latin American and Caribbean Conference and Exhibition (RELACCX), hosted by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, industry leaders from the United States and countries across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) convened to discuss financing and deployment trends for renewable energy in the region. Experts representing private sector business, governments and non-governmental organizations provided insights to over 200 delegates on matters surrounding technology and financing progressions uniquely related to the energy challenges and opportunities facing the LAC regions.

"The booming renewable energy industry in Latin America and the Caribbean is a welcome development for both the United States and our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere. Clean energy will help Latin American and Caribbean nations reduce their electricity prices, giving consumers more disposable income and creating jobs in the process," said Debra Juncker, Director of the Office of Alternative and Renewable Energy, Bureau of Energy Resources, U.S. Department of State. "Likewise, the rise of renewables in this region will open up more avenues for renewable energy components manufactured right here in the United States. And the Americas as a whole will benefit from the greenhouse gas reductions that renewables offer. But, to attract private investment to keep up with growing electricity demand and attendant infrastructure, leaders in this region must maintain stable, transparent policy mechanisms. And, if the hemisphere is to expand markets and cross-border trade in clean electricity, governments must also invest in transmission infrastructure and ensure non-discriminatory access to national electricity grids, in order to ensure vibrant regional power trading, attract larger scale investment and support the continued growth of this vital industry."

To open the event, ACORE released its 2014 Regional Profiles: Renewable Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean report, which offers key market insights about Latin America and the Caribbean through a number of case studies and assessments on renewable energy in countries throughout the region. The included case studies from leading private sector companies and organizations review the state of play in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Current energy issues in the region include high electricity prices, outdated or burgeoning infrastructure, and water and energy access concerns.

"This Regional Profile, compiled by our Research Manager Lesley Hunter and International Initiative Director, Risa Edelman, is a tremendous companion document to complement the high level of discussion we enjoyed at RELACCX," said Michael Brower, President and CEO of ACORE. "We always seek to facilitate new deals and partnerships though our ACORE convenings and reports, and this report in particular clearly demonstrates the market opportunity in the Latin America and Caribbean region."

The unique properties of the Latin American and Caribbean markets provided a stimulating platform for discussion at RELACCX. From identifying technological developments driving renewable energy forward, the infrastructure required to support renewable energy growth, and the financing needed to make this happen, to advancing the research, development and commercialization of emerging technologies in the public and private sectors, participants were eager to review new opportunities to raise venture capital to develop technologies and innovative markets. Emergent technologies such as the application of smart grid, microgrid and energy storage have markedly different value propositions in many of the LAC regions, versus the United States or Europe.

"As a global engineering and construction partner in energy, M+W Group sees significant opportunity in Latin America and the Caribbean and we are excited to continue to grow our offerings there," said Karin Berardo, Executive Vice President-Emerging Markets at M+W Group. "With stable policy and increasing access to reliable financing, the LAC markets are primed for a significant expansion in the very near future for clean energy."

Much of the discussion at RELACCX reflected the long-standing challenges of the LAC nations – from reliable energy to high costs of imported fossil fuels – and how renewables are presently offering entirely new solutions to old problems. Nicaragua was cited as a textbook example of how energy reform ended decades of rolling blackouts and electricity rationing, in favor of a modern grid that is now powered by 51 percent renewable energy. Private sector financiers and developers focused in on risk mitigation for the region, agreeing that doing international projects often meant showing preference for larger, more easily financed projects, but also recognizing that unique and emerging role of export credit agencies in the region offered profitable undertaking of smaller deals as well.

"RELACCX was a fantastic opportunity for Dentons to engage with all of the prime movers for renewable energy in Latin American and the Caribbean," noted Sydney McNiff Johnson, Principal in the global Energy practice at Dentons. "With 19 different countries participating, RELACCX showcased the pressing need for more diversified, renewable electricity across Latin America and the Caribbean to bring down prices and improve energy accessibility at the consumer level. We were thrilled to be able to partner with ACORE on this event, and look forward to future opportunities to work in one of the most exciting emerging markets for renewable energy."

Additionally, a survey of renewable energy industry leaders at the conference, conducted by the InterAmerican Clean Energy Institute, highlighted key policy issues in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Of the conference delegates who responded to the survey, 87% thought that the Latin American and Caribbean region could achieve 60% or more sustainable renewable electricity by 2050, and nearly half of respondents thought that 80% or more was achievable.

"Clean energy is growing rapidly in the Latin American and Caribbean region, and in many areas renewables are already cost-competitive with—or cheaper than—traditional energy sources," said Heather Rosmarin, Executive Director of the InterAmerican Clean Energy Institute, a nonprofit clean energy think tank, which conducted the survey. "However, public policy remains key to removing obstacles and optimizing clean energy market development," Rosmarin said.

About RELACCX:

Renewable Energy Latin America & Caribbean Conference & Exhibition (RELACCx), is the premier renewable energy finance and development event for Latin America and the Caribbean. This two-day conference takes an in-depth look at political and financial landscapes, prominent and emerging markets, and existing energy infrastructure to provide the audience with the tools needed to accelerate renewable energy development in these regions.

About ACORE:

ACORE, a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization, is dedicated to building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. ACORE seeks to advance renewable energy through finance, policy, technology, and market development and is concentrating its member focus in 2013 on National Defense & Security, Power Generation & Infrastructure, and Transportation. Additional information is available at www.acore.org.

CONTACT: Kevin Haley, ACORE haley@acore.org; (202) 777-7584



Source:American Council on Renewable Energy