Latin America Advisor

Energy Advisor

A Publication of The Dialogue

How Is Technology Changing How Utilities Operate?

Companies are increasingly using technology to advance renewables projects in the United States and Latin America. Solar panels are pictured above. // File Photo: U.S. Energy Department.

Google and Virginia-based AES Corporation, a significant electricity producer in Latin America and the Caribbean, in November announced they were undertaking a 10-year alliance to accelerate the growth and adoption of clean energy. The companies plan to use cloud-based tools, artificial intelligence and data analytics to modernize electric grids and support new renewables projects in the United States and Latin America. How is technology changing the way utilities in Latin America and the Caribbean operate, plan and invest? What are some of the ways partnerships such as this will play out in the region? What will it take to make electric grids in Latin America and the Caribbean reliable enough to handle widespread electric transit and other modern innovations that would replace fossil fuels?

R. Kirk Sherr, member of the Energy Advisor board and president of Clearview Strategy Group: “Electric grids are an essential aspect of the energy transition taking place worldwide. The complex relationship between the ‘decarbonization’ of electric generation, climate change, variable renewable energy and technology is an ‘all hands on deck’ exercise that will be ongoing for a generation. Leading Latin American countries are already preparing for this future by recently undertaking commitments for 70 percent renewable energy by 2030. Significant onshore/offshore wind and solar power resources (‘variable renewable energy’), such as the windy Patagonia in Argentina or sunny northern Mexico, are typically located far from population centers and require significant transmission investment to realize the long-term energy cost benefits. Rapidly declining grid-scale battery costs and new HVDC technology make the incorporation of variable renewables even more attractive. In addition, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, communications improvements and sensors allow…”

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About the Energy Advisor

A sister publication of the Inter-American Dialogue’s daily Latin America Advisor, the weekly Energy Advisor captures fresh analysis from business leaders and government officials on the most important developments in oil and gas, biofuels, the power sector, renewable energies, new technologies, and the policy debates shaping the future of energy in the Western Hemisphere. To subscribe or for more information, contact Erik Brand, publisher of the Advisor, at ebrand@thedialogue.org.


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Erik Brand

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Anastasia Chacón González

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