Peru has excellent potential for renewable energy — its geographical landscape offers opportunities for solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric energy. In recent years, the Peruvian government and energy companies have shifted focus to increasing the use of renewable energy in Peru, which would provide jobs and create an opportunity for export growth.
The government is working to provide all its communities with reliable and renewable electricity; however, this does not come without challenges. The Peruvian Amazon makes up 62% of the country and its difficult terrain means that connecting the area with the national grid is challenging. A 2020 report by Energypedia found that the Amazon region had the lowest rural electrification rate, 18%, compared to the coastal regions that are more accessible.
Access to electricity is key to poverty alleviation, economic growth and greater quality of life. Communities without electricity are isolated from society and their day ends when natural light ends. A lack of electricity also limits the availability of services and impacts the operations of facilities. In response, several energy companies are working to provide renewable energy in Peru and improve the quality of life in regions where there is a disconnect.
Facing the Impacts of a Lack of Electricity
Peru’s former minister of energy and mines, Miguel Incháustegui, stated that the largest proportion of energy in the Amazonian region in Peru comes from fossil fuels. Because this region is often isolated from the national grid, it must use generators to power its health centers, homes and educational institutes, which is detrimental to the environment. Generators are costly and use gasoline, a fossil fuel that is both expensive and scarce.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when the nation switched to online learning, school-age children from rural communities could not access education due to the lack of electricity and internet connection. In the Amazon, 42% of children did not have complete access to education and became more isolated. In 2021, the Catholic mission Apostolic Vicariate of Iquitos provided solar-powered radios to ensure children could tune into lessons offered by the Peruvian Ministry of Education.
Acciona Provides Energy
Acciona is a renewable energy company working to expand renewable energy in Peru. The company is constructing a wind farm in the Ica region that will be fully operational by the end of 2023 and will generate enough energy for 478,000 households. Additionally, the revenue from the wind farm will go into educational programs to support environmental and social initiatives.
In 2019, Acciona delivered electricity to 400 families in the Peruvian Amazon. Acciona’s program, Luz en Casa Amazonía, has provided electricity to Indigenous communities and aims to extend its outreach to an additional 1,000 households. Acciona uses third-generation photovoltaic kits that are easy to manage and transport and remain free of harmful contaminants.
The extensive use of renewable energy in Peru has a positive impact on the environment, health and education. Old forms of lighting, such as lighters and oil lamps, generate harmful fumes that increase the likelihood of lung disease. Acciona reports that households mainly use electricity to extend study hours, prepare meals and continue daily activities after dark. Better health and access to education for more hours a day can help to alleviate poverty in rural communities.
Renewable energy is important in order to overcome poverty. A 2022 Enel report said renewable energy in Peru could make up around 81% of its power generation by 2030. A move in the right direction to make green electricity readily available to all Peru’s inhabitants would certainly help improve living conditions across the country.
– Eva O’Donovan