“Electricity and transmission grids as factors for sustainable development and integration in Latin America” was the subject of a workshop organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Italian-Latin American Institute (IILA) which took place today at the Farnesina.
Under-Secretary Mario Giro’s opening speech was followed by addresses by IILA Secretary General Ambassador Giorgio Malfatti and the head of the International Energy Agency’s Renewable Energy Division, Paolo Frankl.
The workshop was attended by representatives of Italy’s main energy companies: the ENEL Group, Gestore dei Servizi Energetici Spa and Terna, and by Alberto Biancardi, representing the Italian regulator, the Authority for Electricity and Gas. High profile foreign guests included Joaquin Galindo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Endesa, Chile, and the heads of energy sector public bodies and commissions from Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Uruguay. Also taking part were the heads of the energy divisions of organisations such as the CAF Development Bank of Latin America, whose members include 18 Latin American countries, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Commission and the United Nations.
The development of grid infrastructure and electricity generation, especially from renewable sources, is a strategic factor in supporting strong growth in Latin America. Against this background, today’s meeting was an opportunity to discuss problems relating to infrastructure development and obstacles to integration and security of supply resulting from the lack of a uniform legislative framework. Italy’s experience in the hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, solar and biomass sectors provides a solid foundation of know-how that we intend to share with the countries of Latin America through synergies and targeted collaboration.
The participation of local and international private sector companies has become evermore timely, a point that has attracted significant interest from Italian enterprises. Terna CEO Flavio Cattaneo expressed his company’s keen interest in the region and declared that “grids are strategic infrastructure. They act as drivers of development for each country and generate investment and employment. The countries of Latin America, which have and will continue to have interesting growth trends and are achieving full economic stability, could provide an opportunity for Terna, in light of the excellent levels of transmission and dispatching expertise it has developed and its non-traditional work in building renewable installations for third parties”.
Nando Pasquali, Chairman and CEO of the Gestore dei Servizi Energetici, commented that “with its ‘Corrente’ project, GSE is supporting and helping them develop their potential, even at this delicate time. We firmly believe that not just major companies, but our small and medium-sized enterprises too, can compete in international markets such as South America’s. As long as they have the appropriate information at their disposal and act together, they will find it easier to approach foreign markets in a ‘systemic’ manner”.
Francesco Starace, CEO of ENEL Green Power, declared that “Latin America is the only region in the world currently covering over 70% of its electricity generation needs from renewable sources. These will retain their central role in all the countries of the region, such as Mexico, the central American countries, Brazil and Chile, where ENEL Green Power is already an important presence in the sector. A small, but significant, development in the region is the definitive interconnection between the electricity markets of Central America. This development offers interesting prospects for energy management and sets a good example for other connections that will be important in the near future”.