The Association of Latin American Electricity Distributors and the Latin American Energy Organization held on June 12, 2023 the regional Webinar “Challenges of Electricity Distribution for the Latin American Energy Transition”.
The event had more than 500 attendees and lasted almost two hours. It was kept at the headquarters of the Permanent Secretariat of OLADE in Quito, Ecuador, and was transmitted online through Zoom and YouTube to the entire public in the region, government authorities, sector specialists and representatives of prominent companies of energy.
The meeting was opened by the executive secretary of OLADE, Andrés Rebolledo, who highlighted the importance of an ideal space like this to debate and talk about the current vision of the region’s electricity sector.
ADELAT’s President, David Felipe Acosta Correa, remarked that “it is essential to create a common language to declare the needs of the region and attract the investments required to enable the energy transition.” He explained that from ADELAT “the objective is also to build a direct dialogue with the main multilaterals present in the Latin American sphere and with the decision makers of the countries in which we operate the network.”
The Vice Minister of Energy and Renewable Resources of Ecuador, Marcelo Jaramillo, stated that the energy transition in a global sense is “the migration of energy in all sectors towards environmentally friendly energies” and focused on technological and social challenges. In relation to the regulation, he considered that “it must cover the minimum possible field in such a way that it allows all the actors of the electrical industry to act with propriety and freedom.”
Subsequently, the executive director of ADELAT, Ignacio Santelices, spoke about the main challenges and guidelines presented in the policy paper carried out collaboratively by experts from the region and professionals from member companies of the Association.
“It is key to modernize electricity distribution and it is a common challenge in Latin America”, said Santelices. In a tour of the central issues to be addressed and possible solutions to enable the transformation, he emphasized the need for a public-private articulation. “We need to generate the appropriate regulations and incentives to provide certainty, have independent regulators that provide a guarantee of confidence regarding technical suitability, and make a very important paradigm shift. This change should not wait, we must start doing it now”, he added.
The main panel, moderated by ADELAT’s Director of Strategy and Institutional Relations, Aniella Descalzi, was made up of important international speakers: José Fernando Prada, Executive Director of the Energy and Gas Regulation Commission -CREG- (Colombia) and President of the Ibero-American Association of Energy Regulatory Entities -ARIAE-; Marta Cabeza Vargas, Superintendent of Electricity and Fuels (Chile); María Susana David, manager of Legal and Regulatory Affairs EDELAP (Argentina); and Tiago de Barros Correia, energy consultant (Brazil).
During the meeting, aspects and regulatory frameworks of great relevance for the development of modern, resilient and flexible electrical distribution systems were analyzed. The experts contributed their perspective on the current and future challenges of the segment in the different countries of the region.
They referred to the role of digitization and the integration of distributed energy resources in this modernization, as well as the operation and maintenance costs to meet demand and guarantee levels of efficiency, security, and continuity. They agreed that the new business models can benefit society in terms of opportunity, costs and quality of service.
Finally, they discussed the key role and place that electricity distributors must occupy as Distribution System Operators to enable, in a timely and efficient manner, the energy transition in Latin America.