Q&A Series: Ricardo González Romero Looks at Renewable Energy Opportunities Post-Pandemic

Ricardo González Romero is a General Manager at Anabática Renovables in Santiago, Chile.  He’s a subject matter expert on renewable energy serving in several different roles in the energy sector. He is also a guest professor at three different universities throughout the Latin American region.

Question:  Please describe yourself and your work. 

Ricardo: I am a General Manager at Anabática Renovables in Santiago, Chile, where my background and expertise is in consultancy, management, team restructuring, renewable energy support, along with greenfield wind and solar project development. Anabática Renovables provides financial and investment advisory services, reliable third-party assessment, and independent technical assessment for companies seeking to participate in Latin America´s wind and solar energy market.

My specialties within the renewable energy sector are in valuation of assets; mergers and acquisitions; project evaluation; management project; wind energy analysis; business development; and energy technology assessment. In addition to my current position, I serve as a guest professor at the Universidad Tecnológica Nacional in Argentina; the Universidad de Chile, and the Universidad de Zaragoza in Spain.

Q: With your extensive experience in the region and work with Anabática Renovables, could you please describe the current state of the renewable energy sector in Chile?

Ricardo: Well, we are still growing up. Even though 2020 was a terrible year, our business has experienced interesting growth and next year looks to be going the same. Decarbonization, green hydrogen, investment opportunities, batteries, and more make the position we occupy interesting for all of us who are in it.

Q: Why is investing in renewable energy so important for Chile? And what sectors offer the most promise?

Ricardo: That is difficult to know in the middle of this pandemic! Chile needs to change. It needs more and more green energy to face a greener future and make the national industry more competitive and clean. It means we have to clean up our electrical matrix. We also need to pursue new projects, while the country needs to offer this possibility in a stable market with clear rules.

Q: Why do you consider the need to make a good return on an investment a main barrier or challenge for Chile on its path to clean and affordable energy?

Ricardo: In general, the world does not offer too many opportunities to invest (safely, on a regular basis). In our business, there is still a lot of competition and Chile, due to its economic conception, does not facilitate a return on investment as it happens in many other countries. It is necessary to be extremely cautious with the economic-financial projections, especially with regard to the marginal cost.

Q: Finally, based on your experience and work at Anabática Renovables, how can Chile lead the way towards 100 percent renewable energy? And what progress do you foresee for the region in the coming years?

Ricardo: Working hard. Making good estimations, considering externalities, and paying attention to local communities. We need to think in terms of renewables and batteries.

 

Photo by Amanda Hortiz on Unsplash

Q&A Series: Claudio Huepe Minoletti Shares Long-term Vision for Sustainable Development in Chile

Claudio Huepe Minoletti is an economist with more than twenty years of experience in both the public and private sectors committed to economic analysis, public policies and regulation, mainly in natural resources, energy, water infrastructure and sustainable development.

 

Please describe yourself and your work. 

Claudio: I am an economist, working on sustainable development and energy. I work part time at Universidad Diego Portales, where I teach, research, and liaise with the public and private sector on public policy issues.  The rest of my time, I work as an independent consultant, mostly for private companies.

During my career, I have focused mostly on the analysis and development of public policies and the impacts of projects and programs, using economic analysis (including quantitative and prospective methodologies) integrated with social, legal and political perspectives to develop useful products. I have also coordinated and managed research and dissemination projects.

I was a founding partner and director of a consulting company for over 10 years and later worked at the National Energy Commission and the Ministry of Energy, where I oversaw the creation of departments dedicated to long term studies and established links and joint projects with international organizations, such as the United Nations Secretariat, the International Energy Agency and the European Commission. I was also an advisor for the first United Nations Global Sustainability Report and am on the board of the Chilean Council for Strategic Foresight.

What made you want to join the Path to 100%?

Claudio: I believe exchanging ideas and experiences on long-term visions for the energy sector is crucial for sustainable development, as energy is one of its most significant elements and where renewables are the core.

Describe your passion for renewable energy and how you have put that to work in Chile.  

Claudio: Renewable energy is an opportunity not only for a greener planet but also for solid long-term economic growth with possibilities at various scales and for multiple uses.  There is a large potential and creativity must be put to work to untap it. While working at the Ministry of Energy on long-term policies we promoted not only the role of renewables in the energy mix in the medium to short term, but also the role that renewables (in all sorts of uses, from electricity to fuels) can have in a development, which is at the same time a strong driver of economic growth, of environmental protection (locally and globally), and socially acceptable and beneficial activities.

How would you like to see your work implemented on a global scale? 

Claudio: I would like to see more efforts on making the energy sector a strong driver of economic growth, where all countries participate and not only as neutral technology users, but as users and developers that seek to maximize the impact, especially for local development.

What do you believe are the greatest areas of opportunity for Chile’s renewable energy sector?

Claudio: In the short-term, the large-scale electric renewable sector is quite well developed, but I see an extraordinarily strong opportunity for small-scale, decentralized development of electric renewables, as well as local production. In the longer-term, there is great potential in green hydrogen, which can be relevant in all sorts of uses, such as transportation, storage, gradually replacing natural gas, and other uses. In the future, there are also opportunities for other forms of renewable energy.

Now, what do you see as the primary barriers or challenges Chile faces on its path to clean, affordable energy? 

Claudio: Up until now, the effort has been on affordable and secure energy provision, which has worked quite well in terms of the spread of renewables. Turning renewables into a source of economic growth would be the next step, but this requires a more active role of the public sector and greater public investment, which Chile has avoided until now.  

Finally, how can Chile lead in the path to 100 percent renewables? And what progress do you envision for the region over the next few years? 

Claudio: Chile is already quite advanced in terms of renewable penetration and its strategy already considers a major role for renewables — with 70 percent in the electric sector. Yet, working toward 100 percent renewables means a very relevant change in focus. On the one hand, it requires not only looking at the electric sector, but beyond. It is in this area where Chile could strengthen its leadership in renewables. Furthermore, it must seek ways to have a more renewable electric sector by reducing the role of gas, primarily because coal is already in the process of being phased out.

 

 

Photo: Olga Stalska on Unsplash