Catalyzing Private Sector Investment in Clean Energy

Photo of a worker installing solar panels Windwärts Energie GmbH / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 DEED

On May 29th, 2024, the Dialogue hosted an event with representatives from Deloitte that focused on sharing case studies and lessons learned from building clean energy projects in Latin America where governmental and non-governmental entities collaborated on projects using donor funds. The speakers’ varied perspectives, representing government agencies, the private sector, and MDBs, provided a comprehensive overview of the different angles and priorities involved parties hold in developing renewables projects in Latin America.  

Lisa Viscidi, a non-resident senior fellow at the Dialogue and a senior manager with Deloitte Consulting, opened the event by leading a moderated discussion with the three panelists before the case study exploration began. The panelists agreed on the promise of Latin America and the region’s vast renewable energy potential. However, they all also underscored that the event’s central focus—the necessity of partnership between governments, the private sector, and donor organizations—was key to unlocking these opportunities. To that end, panelists underscored the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration in advancing clean energy initiatives.

Panelists further agreed on the centrality of regional governments enacting regulatory frameworks that create a conducive business environment for clean energy investment. Specifically, Marcelino Madrigal, energy division chief at the IDB, emphasized the importance of stable and transparent policies, tax incentives, and streamlined permitting processes to attract investment in energy projects across the region.

Following the moderated discussion, participants shared several case studies demonstrating successful partnerships between governments and non-governmental bodies that led to impactful clean energy investment. Francisco Morandi, the vice president of AES’ Global Renewables Strategic Business Unit, presented the first case study. He highlighted AES’ experience negotiating multi-stakeholder renewable energy projects. The first example centered on El Salvador, with the construction of a 100 mega-watt solar project in the country. The second focused on a 400 mega-watt plant in the Dominican Republic. Morandi explained AES’ experience building the plants IDB funds and the how AES fit into the IDB’s mission to reduce fossil fuel dependency in both countries.

Marcelino Madrigal, energy division chief at the IDB, went into detail about the support IDB has provided in the region. Specifically, he highlighted the need for a just, low-carbon energy transition that could alleviate the pressing issue of inequality in Latin America. He proposed the use of both concessional and blended financing as means for countries creatively unlock new means of powering homes and businesses and further the energy transition.

Finally, senior clean energy and climate change advisor from USAID, John Garrison, noted that the developing models in place can support clean energy projects, but are focused on the nuts and bolts of energy due to limited funding. Namely, the prevalence of the Distribution Business Model was his main concern, as this business paradigm is not feasible with future climate events.

Throughout the roundtable, key challenges identified by panelists included regulatory uncertainty, financing gaps, and lack of infrastructure. Solutions proposed included enhancing regional cooperation, improving policy coherence, and fostering innovation in financing mechanisms. The event concluded with a Q&A session moderated by Lisa Viscidi, touching on the pressing issues indigenous communities face, a supply chain perspective on assistance being received, and the difficulties navigating utility and forced labor in these markets.

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