PFAN event in Guatemala: ‘Supporting Climate and Clean Energy Projects in Guatemala & LAC’

After a multi-year hiatus, PFAN reignited our presence in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in 2019 with the aim of helping climate and clean energy entrepreneurs navigate the specific challenges in the region. From February 20th-24th, 2023 in Guatemala City, PFAN welcomed 15 advisors in person and 5 online from across the region for a week of capacity building, knowledge exchange and stakeholder meetings, culminating in a full room and large online participation in our PFAN Roadshow ‘’Supporting Climate and Clean Energy Projects in Guatemala & LAC’’.

One of the great strengths of PFAN is our commitment to strengthening the PFAN network of Advisors and Country Coordinators through capacity building, trainings, knowledge transfer and a high level of internal interaction, to which we dedicated the first three days of roundtable discussions and workshops. Lukas Baumhauer, PFAN Senior Manager for LAC, presented our updated internal processes, including an improved Call-Off structure which allows for two different PFAN Advisors to work with the same project tailored to the project’s needs.

‘’PFAN has an incredible level of expertise in LAC,’’ says Lukas. ‘’Our advisors bring so much knowledge to their work – we have Loreto (Duffy-Meyrs) who has decades of experience in sustainable tourism in the Caribbean, Eduardo Reyes who played an important role in negotiating the Paris Agreement, Rafael Carmona, CEO of Green Momentum in Mexico and Patrick D’Addario who is a founding Director of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia Foundation, just to name a few. The amount of knowledge in this room is what makes PFAN so vital for advancing climate and clean energy project development in the region.’’

One big takeaway from the sessions is that Latin America and the Caribbean has different needs and areas for PFAN intervention as many of our other regions, and our advisors understand the unique challenges it faces. Most of the rural population has access to energy, but these countries have some of the highest levels of inequality in the world, and there is a lack of support for indigenous communities in particular. With deep knowledge not only of the energy and climate finance sphere but also invaluable local knowledge, and in some cases are part of the communities themselves such as Guatemalan Advisor Alaide González, our advisors are able to provide targeted assistance in the local language and navigate the sometimes tricky waters.

The islands of the Caribbean face their own unique challenges, akin to SIDS in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. A major benefit of PFAN’s international reach is that we are able to see the common challenges and aim to connect our advisors from these culturally diverse areas to tackle the same climate-related effects such as rising sea levels. Through invaluable events like these, our advisors are able to share their first-hand experiences from different countries, exchange best practices as well as areas for improvement and further strengthen the high quality of services PFAN is known for.

Following this very productive three days, we gathered a full room of 60+ stakeholders at the Collegio De Ingenirios for ‘’Supporting Climate and Clean Energy Projects in Guatemala & LAC’’.

The assembled group of stakeholders from across the country included a collective of project developers from Luz de Todos, a PFAN-supported community hydro project, who came across the country to meet with our Network in person. As the region encompasses both the Spanish-speaking Latin American countries and the largely English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, the event was held in both English and Spanish with simultaneous translation by our Advisors so that the attendees could get the most out of it. Although it wasn’t part of the day’s agenda, we are mindful of the French-speaking Caribbean nations and recruited PFAN Advisor Patrick Longmayer in 2022, a trilingual finance expert based in Miami, who is providing our services to the region in French.

Our local partners Asociación de Combustibles Renovables (ACER) and Fundación Solar were in attendance to present their organisations. We introduced the group to PFAN’s services, and PFAN advisors Jorge Barrigh and Debby Stone shared tips, insights and current trends for project developers. PFAN-supported project developer Sharon Hughes described in detail how a sugarcane bio-refinery could be instituted in Guatemala after the model she developed for her project in Belize.

We look forward to inducting more projects in the region into the PFAN pipeline and helping them mobilise financing!