Latin America Green News: Connecting Chile's grids, Costa Rica's growing e-waste, reforming Mexico's energy, protecting Colombia's sea turtles
Posted December 20, 2013
Latin America Green News is a selection of weekly news highlights about environmental and energy issues in Latin America.
This is the final edition of NRDC’s Latin America Green News for 2013. ¡Felices fiestas!
December 15th-20th, 2013
The Court of Appeals in Concepción halted the operation of the Bocamina II coal-fired power plant after fishermen and local citizens accused the plant of harming local fish species and polluting the air, which violate its environmental permits. Owned by Endesa, the 370 MW Bocamina II has to shut down its generator, chimney, cooling and seawater collection systems until the court’s final ruling, expected to come in two or three months. The Minister of Mining expressed concern about the decision, saying that taking a power plant offline could threaten the future of the mining industry, whose energy needs are expected to grow by 78 percent by 2020. Endesa has responded with a request that the plant be allowed to operate during the while the final decision is pending in order to satisfy the central grid’s energy needs. (Santiago Times, 12/18/2013; RadioBioBio 12/19/2013)
Chile’s Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Parliament, approved the bill that proposes to connect the country’s two main grids, the northern SING grid with the central SIC grid. The connection would require approximately $700 million to cross the 600 kilometers that currently separate the two grids. The bill will return to the Senate next, who will look at the Chamber’s amendments, and authorities hope it will become law in January. (El Mercurio, via Revista Electricidad 12/18/2013)
Each year Costa Ricans produce 34,000 metric tons of electronic waste, approximately 7.3 kilograms (kg) per person slightly higher the world average of 7 kg. Approximately 10.94 kg per person of electronic equipment enters the Costa Rican market each year, meaning the equivalent of 66% ends up as waste. At the current rate of increase, by 2017 Costa Rica is expected to produce a third more waste. (El Financiero 12/17/2013)
A joint pilot project between the Costa Rican Petroleum Refinery (RECOPE) and the Ad Astra Rocket Company will aim to generate and store hydrogen fuel. The project will explore the viability of using hydrogen-based fuel in the transportation sector to reduce Costa Rica’s dependence on imported oil. (Costa Rica Star 12/18/2013)
The industrial group Alstom has signed a contract with Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission for 30 million euros (aprox. 40 million U.S. dollars) for the construction of a geothermal plant in Puebla. The plant, named Los Humeros III-Fase A, is projected to be running by the middle of 2016 and produce 200 GWh per year; this is the equivalent of the annual energy consumption for 40,000 people. (El Economista 12/19/2013)
The first wind and solar hybrid plant will receive an investment of 700 million pesos (aprox. 54 million U.S. dollars) from Grupo Dragón. The plant, located in Ojuelos, Jalisco, currently produces 50 MW of wind power (enough for 17,000 households). Construction of the solar section of the plant will add an additional 10 MW of solar power to production. Upon completion, this plant will reduce CO2 emissions by 27,000 tons annually, equivalent to removing 18,000 vehicles from the road. (El Financero 12/16/2013)
The Mexican Cabo Pulmo National Park and the Argentinean Monte León National Park are sister parks in a program, created by Administration of National Parks and the Mexican National Commission of Protected Natural Areas, called the Biennial Program for Protected Areas. The program serves as a platform to exchange methods, experiences and ideas around the management of national parks and its flora and fauna. (Mensajero Web 12/17/2013)
Unusually high temperatures have prompted record-breaking electricity use in Argentina, particularly on Monday this week, when temperatures reached 35°C in Buenos Aires (approx. 95°F) and the national electricity consumption reached a historic high of 23,433 MW. Thirty neighborhoods in Buenos Aires and its suburbs as well as various provinces throughout the country suffered from rolling outages as a result. (El País, 12/17/2013; Télam, via Revista Electricidad 12/18/2013)
The government of Colombia has created a new nature reserve to protect two giant turtle species that are in danger of extinction. The 26,232 hectare-reserve lies on the country’s Caribbean coast, and will include the wildlife sanctuaries in Acandí, Playon and Playona, where leatherback and hawksbill turtles spawn. In addition, the government plan to consolidate artisanal fisheries in the area, reduce the felling of native forest, and create a national refuge for howler monkeys, marmosets, lizards and birds. (El Dinamo, 12/19/2013)