Impacts Of Renewable Energy In The Current Business Model Of Latin American Utilities
Free (open access)
221 - 231
F. E. Giraldo
In recent years, climate change has become a central issue worldwide. Therefore, this aspect has evidently influenced environmental and political decisions. As a result, renewable energy has emerged as an alternative to diminish the footprint caused to the environment. Consequently, several projects have been built in Europe to diversify the energy mix and reduce CO2 emissions. Regarding Latin America, the production of electricity has been based on hydropower generation from big-scale projects. This has led low-cost electricity to meet the demand. However, environmental and social issues have recently caused an increase in hydropower generation costs. Additionally, the growing maturity of renewable energy technologies has fostered a reduction in their production costs. Therefore, renewable energy in Latin America may be developed massively. This paper reports the current state of renewable energy in many Latin American countries. Besides, the main impacts that renewable energy may cause in utilities are described. These impacts include new competitors, increase of small-scale generation projects, decrease in risk assessment indicators, revenues based on network availability and, finally, changes in network topology. Hence, a redefinition of the business model of Latin American utilities is suggested which shall focus on adequate asset management programs and optimization of energy infrastructure. Furthermore, technical advice about energy-efficiency on the customers’ side is a vital aspect that is likely to strengthen the relationship with utility-customers to guarantee utilities’ sustainability. Regarding novel services to be provided, solar photovoltaic installations and electric vehicle charge have been identified as solutions that might be included into the utilities services portfolio due to their proximity to core business and market attractiveness.
utilities, renewables, business model, Latin America, energy mix