Latin America and Caribbean
Clean power replacing emissions-intensive fossil fuels
The Latin America and Caribbean region generated 63% of its electricity from clean sources in 2022, a much higher rate than the global average of 39%. However, wind and solar share was below the global average at 11%, while hydro (45%) continues to provide the bulk of the region’s clean power.
In the region, Uruguay (36%) and Chile (28%) have the highest shares of wind and solar. Chile, in particular, is a real success story, as wind and solar have gone from generating just 0.6% of total power in 2012 to 28% in 2022, together becoming the largest source of electricity and overtaking coal.
Fossil fuels provide 37% of the region’s electricity, down from 45% in 2015. This makes the region’s electricity less fossil-intensive than the global average (61%), with a lower carbon intensity (238 gCO2 per kWh in 2022, compared to the global average of 436 gCO2/kWh).
Due to its growing base of wind and solar, large hydro resource and lower demand growth, Latin America has avoided creating a coal dependency in the way Asia has. Coal provided just 4% of the region’s electricity in 2022. There are relatively small amounts of coal power in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile, and there are nearly no new coal power plants planned. However, 24% of the region’s electricity is still generated by fossil gas, which is higher than the global average.
Electricity demand is growing faster than the global average (+3.6% in 2022, compared to the global average of +2.5%), though per capita electricity consumption is still below the global average (2.7 MWh in 2022 compared to the global average of 3.6 MWh). Ember’s Global Electricity Review spotlighted Latin America as the only region in the world with growing electricity demand that was able to increase clean power fast enough to both meet demand and reduce fossil generation.
Continuing to scale clean power–particularly wind and solar–to keep pace with growing demand will be crucial for Latin America and the Caribbean to continue reducing emissions. Further investment in gas infrastructure risks locking in emissions and capital for decades to come.
Last updated: May 2023