Latin America Clean Energy Investments Surged 127% Higher In 2012


Some $4.6 billion of clean energy investments were made in Latin America (excluding Brazil) in 2012, a whopping 127% increase from 2011, according to figures released in advance of the third annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum – Latin America & Caribbean (REFF-LAC), which is being held in Miami this week.




In sharp contrast to the strong gain in Latin America clean energy investments, new clean energy investments fell 11% year over year globally, from $302.32 billion in 2011 to $268.69 billion, according to the latest report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The global decrease was the first fall in renewable energy financing recorded by BNEF since it began collecting data.


Latin America: A Clean Energy Investment Bright Spot In 2012


Latin America was a bright spot amid an overall decline in global renewable energy financing in 2012. Four countries experienced triple-digit clean energy investment growth:


  • Mexico’s total new financial investments in clean energy for 2012 reached $1.9 billion, up 595% year over year;
  • New financial investments in clean energy totaled $1 billion, up 313% from $246 million in 2011;
  • Uruguay’s total new investments in clean energy reached $105 million, a 285% year-over-year increase;
  • Total clean energy investments in Peru reached $643 million, a 176% increase from $233 million in 2011.


By dollar amount, Brazil actually led the Latin America & Caribbean region when it came to total clean energy investments. Some $5.17 billion of capital was invested in clean energy in South America’s largest nation in 2012, according to BNEF. Mexico ($1.998 billion) and Chile ($1.018 billion) ranked second and third, respectively.


Turning to 2012, LatAm-Caribbean investments in clean energy sectors, biomass and waste attracted the most capital ($822.34 million), biofuels followed ($539.47 million), and geothermal ranked third ($76.69 million), BNEF found.


“The increased investments in non-Brazil Latin America was driven by increased activity by the Inter-American Development Bank,” Maria Gabriela da Rocha Oliveira, BNEF’s head of Latin America Research and Analysis, was quoted in a press release. “Additionally, European players, both project developers and manufacturers, have become more active in the region given grim conditions at home.”


Added Carlos St. James, president of the Latin American & Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy (LAC-CORE) and CEO of VOLA Investments LLC:

“As investments in clean energy declined in 2012 due to the ongoing financial crisis, the sector was actually growing in most of Latin America. This is a huge boon for clean energy finance and the region, which we expect to continue to grow. The most exciting trend is that this has moved beyond Brazil, with other countries now seeing amazing growth and potential.”


Organized by ACORE (American Council on Renewable Energy), REFF-LAC is being held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami April 30 – May 1.