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  • Central America Moves toward Increased Investment in Clean Energy

Central America Moves toward Increased Investment in Clean Energy

Antigua, Guatemala (October 22, 2014) – On October 22, 2014, the Central American Forum for Clean Energy Financing (CAFCEF) was held in Antigua, Guatemala. The Forum welcomed nine Central American clean energy projects carefully selected as finalists through an isthmus-wide business plan competition. The finalist projects’ developers presented their business plans at the Forum to possible investors and/or financiers from investment banks, commercial banks, investment funds, among others.

The finalist projects that presented at the Forum represented Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Guatemala and Honduras, with such green technologies as biofuels, biomass, biogas, hydroelectric, solar, and waste-to-energy. Between the finalist and semifinalist projects, the proposed investment values range between USD 875,000 and USD 205,000,000. The projects seek debt and/or equity investment.

Of these nine project finalists, an experienced panel of judges, representing the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), Banco Atlántida, the Root Capital investment fund, Technological Services and Maintenance, and the Middle East-Americas Energy Council (MEAEC), picked three winners based on their economic and financial viability, as well as their socio-environmental benefits. One of the winners is GSR Energy, Ltd., which proposes a bioethanol from sugar cane distillery completely integrated with a biomass power generation plant in Belize’s Orange Walk District, with an annual production of 30.8 million gallons of bioethanol for export to the United States as well as 25.4 MW (203 GWh) of power for sale to the Belizean grid through long-term supply contracts. The other two winners were:

  • Guayabito Hydroelectric Facility, which proposes the construction and operation of a small 1 MW hydroelectric power facility located in El Alto, Santa Fe District, Veraguas Province, to supply electricity to the domestic and international markets, and
  • Clean Fuels and Energy Las Americas, which proposes the planting of three different oil producing species (i.e., castor, jatropha and macauba) on 5,000 hectares in Puntarenas and Guanacaste Provinces, Costa Rica, together with the construction of a biodiesel production facility, with biodiesel sales going to the national oil company, large commercial fleet owners and retail sector actors.

As an indication of how tight the competition was, the runners-up included:

  • Semilla de sol, Hydroelectric Project Chel III, which proposes the construction and development of a small, approximately 8 MW hydroelectric plant in the San Gaspar Chajul Municipality, Quiché Department, Guatemala to supply power to the grid through a long-term contract.
  • Roatán Renewable Energy, whose developer seeks an investment partner to expand its established solar photovoltaic (PV) power installation business by making available a financing mechanism to residential and commercial clients on the Bay Islands of Honduras.

The Forum’s attendees were able to engage with both finalist and semifinalist developers, and learn from them about their investment and/or financing needs. This exchange afforded attending investors significant access to clean energy deal flow in Central America.

Twenty-six projects representing investment values of approximately USD 400,000,000 participated in the previous iteration of CAFCEF. Nine of these projects advanced as finalists, and five of them are currently moving toward financial close.

The Forum also featured speeches from several officials from governments across the isthmus, as well as representatives from the US government, development banks and the private sector, including:

  • Vice Minister Edwin Rodas, Ministry of Energy and Mines of Guatemala
  • Carmen Urizar, President, National Electric Power Commission of Guatemala
  • Juan Pablo Brol, Facilitator for Guatemala and El Salvador, Accelerating Investment in Renewable Energy in Central America and Panama Project (ARECA), CABEI
  • Carlos Boj, Energy Consultant, CABEI
  • Peter Storey, Global Coordinator, Climate Technology Initiative and the Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI PFAN).

The Forum was promoted by CTI PFAN and the Regional Clean Energy Investment Initiative (RCEII) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) together with their Central American CTI PFAN partners, including CABEI. The National Cleaner Production Center of El Salvador (CNPML), the Guatemala Cleaner Production Center (CGP+L), the Honduran Association for Renewable Energy Producers (AHPER), the Guatemalan Association of Renewable Energy Generators (AGER), the Salvadoran Association for Renewable Energy (ASER) and the Energy and Environment Partnership with Central America (AEA) served as CAFCEF co-organizers and event partners.

CTI PFAN is a multilateral, public-private partnership initiated by CTI in cooperation with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Expert Group on Technology Transfer. CTI PFAN is currently working on more than 220 clean energy projects across Asia, Africa and Latin America and has already raised over USD 507,000,000 of investment for implementation of 42 clean energy projects.

The Regional Clean Energy investment Initiative (RCEII), implemented by Nexant, Inc., is a USAID-funded program designed to cooperate and engage various clean energy stakeholders to introduce and expand the activities of PFAN in West Africa and Central America, in order to increase access to financing for clean-energy businesses, including renewable energy and energy efficiency in those regions.

The objective of CABEI, founded in 1960, is to promote the integration and the development of its founding member countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Headquartered in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, it has regional offices in each Central American country.

For more information:
CTI Program Secretariat
International Center for Environmental Technology Transfer (ICETT)
3684-11, Sakura-cho, Yokkaichi, Mie, 512-1211, Japan
Tel: +81-59-329-3500 / Fax: +81-59-329-8115
Point of Contact: Ms. Akiko Naka
Email: naka@icett.or.jp

Nexant, Inc.
1015 18th Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC
Tel: +1-202-974-0612 / Fax: +1-202-775-5680
Point of Contact:Mr. Edward Hoyt
Email: eahoyt@nexant.com

Tegucigalpa, Honduras
+504 2249 2243
Point of Contact: Mr. Luis Cardona
Email: cardonal@BCIE.ORG

Tags: CAFCEFCaribbean & Central AmericacentralforumguatemalaLatin America