HydroNews - The Americas

South America

Region overview and figures

Countries: 14
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the territories of Falkland Islands and French Guyana.

Population: 437.23 Million

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South America

Hydropower installed capacity:

180 GW

Generation by hydropower:

712 TWh

Capacity added:

1,525 MW

Total pumped storage installed capacity:

994 MW

All figures concern 2022; 
Sources: TheWorldBank, IMF, IHA, Hydropower & Dams World Atlas 2023 

Hydropower plays a central role in the Latin ­American energy landscape, accounting for almost half of the region's electricity generation and even more in some countries. With leading countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, hydropower has seen a significant boost in development in the region. Renewable energy has become a cornerstone of the region's energy strategy and has seen a significant increase in capacity in recent years. 

Climate change projections indicate an increase in extreme weather phenomena, bringing with them increased risks of flooding, drought, and heavy ­rainfall, and ultimately jeopardizing hydropower generation. In addition, the ageing infrastructure of hydropower plants with a typical lifespan of 30 - 80 years is a cause for concern, especially as more than 50% of installed capacity in Latin America exceeds the 30-year mark.

The commitment to renewable energies in Latin America went hand in hand with the implementation of supporting measures. Countries with support policies are 30% more likely to invest in renewable energy. The region has gradually adopted a more or less uniform legal framework that takes advantage of its geographical and topographical diversity to tailor support strategies to the energy needs of each country. This cohesion in legislation, driven by common energy needs, has facilitated the introduction of auction systems and tax incentives as organic ­methods of diversifying renewable energy sources.

While hydropower remains a cornerstone of the Latin American energy matrix, the region's proactive approach to renewable energy and the implementation of supportive policies demonstrates a collective resilience in the face of climate challenges and aging infrastructure that ensures a sustainable and diversified energy future.

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