The United Nations Initiative Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) aims to reach three main objectives by 2030 providing universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
To achieve these goals in Latin America and the Caribbean, the UN has partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to form a regional online Hub. The SE4ALL Americas Hub coordinates free resources, publications, and tools related to sustainable energy. Below are ten important free resources, many of the available in both English and Spanish, for those who want to learn about, promote, and implement more sustainable energy projects.
This indicator was created by IDB rural electrification and renewables expert Javier Castillo Antezana, and it establishes criteria for defining what “sustainability” means in the long-term for electricity access projects. It is important because it incorporates issues like maintenance, yearly service hours, and power available into the sustainability calculation.
The IDB’s Energy Innovation Contest seeks to support the development of innovative technologies and business models that promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, biofuels and access to energy in Latin America and the Caribbean. The competition is open to any individual, organization or consortium based in one of the 26 IDB’s borrowing countries. This yearly contest provides up to $200,000 in the case of consortia led by eligible Mexican higher education and research centers in conjunction with applicants from any organization or individual based in other LAC countries and seeking FSE funds.
This is a user-friendly, interactive tool that ranks 55 emerging markets worldwide on their past, present, and future ability to attract investment for clean energy companies and projects. It is updated yearly. With China, Brazil and South Africa leading the 2014 Climatescope index, the Americas region is strongly represented among the top nations with the highest overall scores: Chile is in 5th place, Uruguay in 6th, and Mexico in 8th, with Peru following closely at 11th. At a regional level, these top five countries attracted US$13bn, or an impressive 94% of the US$14bn in total of the 2013 clean energy investment in the 26 countries in the region.
The IDB´s Energy Database provides an entirely new way of understanding energy in the 21st century. Created by the Energy Innovation Center it shows at a glance how countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and other key countries produce and use energy. This user-friendly and interactive tool makes complex information accessible and contributes to the planning of sustainable energy policy. Have you ever wondered which country’s green energy production has grown exponentially since the 80s? Or whether energy consumption is comparable in Haiti and the Dominican Republic? Answers to these and many other questions are now at your fingertips.
This IDB biofuels sustainability scorecard, the first of its kind, was designed to help the private sector by analyzing the environmental and social sustainability of a project. The scorecard is updated every year, and users can submit comments to help the tool evolve to meet the growing demands of the biofuel sector.
RETScreen is an analysis tool for clean energy projects that provides a quick and inexpensive way to assess their technical and financial viability. The software is used widely and, for example, has 7,000 users in Brazil, where it is credited with helping advance the country´s position as a global clean energy leader. In addition, NASA has plans to use RETScreen to develop strategies for energy-related climate mitigation.
The Cut Costs and Carbon Calculator is an energy efficiency tool developed by Carbon Trust to help businesses manage their energy costs, carbon footprint, and environmental impact. Carbon Trust is a company that offers technology and advice to help organizations worldwide create a more sustainable future via carbon reduction, energy efficiency, and other measures.
The PV Watts Calculator, which was developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), estimates the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world. By assessing the performance potential of PV projects, it allows all parties involved to plan for long-term sustainability and to most adequately meet the needs of a community or area. NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory working on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Transparent Cost Database
The Transparent Cost Database provided by Open Energy Information (OpenEI) collects information about the costs of renewables technology and its performance estimates. All data is downloadable, and it provides a platform for you to easily compare technology costs. OpenEI is a crowsourced Wiki platform that relies on industry and government agencies to provide linked energy information.
Solar and Wind Energy Maps, also developed by NREL, provide high-resolution maps for solar and wind resources in 12+ developing countries. The resource data can be combined with geographic and demographic information.
The NREL Levelized Cost of Energy Calculator allows you to compare capital costs, operations and maintenance, performance, and fuel costs for renewable technologies.
These free tools can be used by students, academics, energy practitioners, and governments to help plan to reach the SE4ALL 2030 objectives. These tools provide citizens, energy practitioners and specialists, and governments with the knowledge necessary to support, create, invest in, and promote sustainable energy.
Alice Driver is in charge of communications for Sustainable Energy for All Americas in the Energy Division at the IDB.
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