Among the hardscrabble nations of Central America, renewable energy involves no high-falutin’ principles. It is an essential weapon in a battle for survival as well as a hope for prosperity in some of the frailest economies of the Americas.
Central America has no oil, save for a few thousand barrels a year from Guatemala. It has no coal, nor any natural gas. With the region’s annual oil import bill running at more than $7bn a year and rising, volatility in world oil markets competes with the notorious vulnerability of the region to natural disasters as a major threat to economic stability.
Hence, the quest for renewable energy resources is drawing some 600 representatives of businesses, governments, aid agencies and NGOs to a “Clean Energy Summit” in Guatemala on Monday and Tuesday.