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ADELAT positioned the role of distribution to enable the energy transition at the VIII Energy Week

The Association of Latin American Electric Energy Distributors held the Side Event “The role of electric energy distributors in enabling the energy transition in Latin America”, within the framework of the VIII Energy Week, organized by OLADE in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The president of ADELAT, David Felipe Acosta Correa; and the director of Studies, Projects and Information of OLADE, José Medardo Cadena Mosquera, began the meeting, in which Acosta Correa highlighted the importance of starting in a timely manner with the investments required to enable the energy transition, complemented by the need to increase the network resilience, given that “it is increasingly necessary in the face of extreme climate phenomena” and listed some of the latest events that occurred in Europe and Brazil.

The executive director of ADELAT, Alessandra Amaral, raised crucial questions to rethink the current roles of the distribution segment and the macro challenges to which it is necessary to respond to move forward now towards the emissions reduction goals for the coming years.

Amaral mentioned technological innovation as a key point since “technology changes our behavior in the same way that our behavior changes with technology, it is a virtuous circle that feeds on itself”, she explained. She emphasized the transition from a “passive and unidirectional” consumer to one “empowered, digitalized, who is very demanding with the electricity supply service in terms of price and quality, moving from consumer to prosumer”.

Subsequently, the discussion table, moderated by ADELAT’s Director of Knowledge Management, Larissa Cunha, was developed based on the regional challenges involved in the energy transformation process in changes in consumption, expressed in terms of efficiency and electrification. In this process, the leading role played by distribution operators must respond to a safe and reliable supply, in addition to having an infrastructure that helps the process to be an integral part of the economic, climatic, social, quality and coverage of the service.

Janina Franco, senior Energy specialist at the World Bank, stressed that “the fundamental thing is to change regulatory paradigms”, in addition to the importance of the “role of consensus”. For his part, Ariel Yépez-García, manager of the Infrastructure and Energy sector at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), described as “key” the coordinated work with multilateral agencies with a view to “helping distribution companies to ensure that the “The circle is closed with good regulation, good management and correct political decision-making”.

Marcelo Cassin, specialist engineer, vice president of Financial Sustainability and Institutional Development of the CIER and professor at the National University of Rosario, delved into the quality and resilience of the supply. He said that this aspect and “continuous improvement have to be accompanied by unprecedented investments”. Javier San Cristóbal, general manager of the National Administration of Electric Power Plants and Transmissions (UTE), focused on digitalization and hourly rates. He told how the company provides 71% smart metering and expects to reach 75% by the end of this year. “It allows us much more optimal management of stations and networks”, he explained.

During the debate, they agreed on key points for the region such as adequate regulation with timely political decision-making, measures to promote digitalization and a safe and reliable supply.

The meeting also had the notable presence of Túlio Machado Alves (CIER), Marcelino Madrigal (IDB), Gustavo Mejia-Ricart (Ministry of Energy and Mines of the Dominican Republic) and Oliverio Álvarez Alonso (Deloitte Spain), consultants and journalists, among others.

On the other hand, the president of the Association was present at the panel “Regulatory challenges and design of energy markets of the future”, an instance in which he maintained that “the region’s energy policy and regulation place a lot of emphasis on the switching of technologies of generation, which is very good, but one point is missing, which is the reason why ADELAT has emerged”. “To make this energy transition a reality and ensure the commitments indicated regarding 2030, distribution needs to go from being a unidirectional network to a platform”, he said.

The specialists who accompanied the panel emphasized the importance of strengthening the quality and flexibility in the network, the loss schemes and the resilience of the system in the face of extreme climate events to correctly focus investments today, in the face of the challenges of electrification, electricity management demand and integration of renewable energies of the 2030 Agenda.

The week constituted an enriching and productive space to exchange views and experiences regarding the future of electrical distribution in Latin America from different areas. Meetings were held with representatives of other organizations in the region and representatives of government and entities such as the Director of Electricity of the National Secretariat of Energy of Panama, Guadalupe González; and the director of ANEEL, Agnes Maria de Aragão da Costa. There were also spaces where the role of Communication in the energy transition was discussed.

During Energy Week, more than 1,000 representatives of 50 different nationalities participated in person. ADELAT reaffirms its commitment to continue energizing conversations around the energy transition and the importance of building a common language among the actors involved.


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