Southern Cone: Rapid Transition to Non-Conventional Renewable Energy


As posted on American University's Center for Latin American and Latino Studies Blog, October 19, 2018

South America’s Southern Cone is undertaking a transition to non-conventional, renewable energy resources – that is, production not dependent on fossil fuels or large-scale hydropower – that creates the opportunity for a historic regional consensus on energy policy. Uruguay and Chile are at the forefront. Both lack significant fossil fuel reserves and have experienced crises when droughts detrimentally impacted hydro-supplied electricity. For them, the rapid shift to other forms of domestically sourced renewables is as much a means to guarantee energy security as to combat climate change. Approximately a third of Uruguay’s electricity is currently generated from wind power (up from only one percent as recently as 2013). Similarly, about a third of Chile’s electric power – depending on the time of day – is sourced from the sun and the wind.

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10/20/18. 10:49:00 pm. Categories: Articles ,

The Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) as a Metaphor for the Decline of United States Hegemony in the Western Hemisphere

As Published in Volumes 26 and 27 of Latin American Essays, MACLAS (Mid-Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies), 2014, pp. 19-32

Thomas Andrew O’Keefe
Mercosur Consulting Group, Ltd. & Stanford University


The idea for an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas was first floated by then Senator Barack Hussein Obama in the sole policy address he gave on Latin America and the Caribbean during his initial run for the White House. The primary purpose of that May 2008 speech in Miami was to garner Cuban-American votes for his candidacy as well as that of two Cuban-American Democrats and one Colombian-American challenging incumbent Cuban-American Republican congresspersons from south Florida.[1] Not surprisingly, the speech focused heavily on U.S. relations with Cuba. Obama did, however, mention a proposal to create an Energy Partnership for the Americas. In particular, Obama stated that, if elected, his administration would allow industrial emitters of greenhouse gases in the United States to offset a portion of their emissions by investing in low carbon energy projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. He also pledged to increase research and development across the Americas in clean coal technology, in the next generation of sustainable biofuels not taken from food crops, and in wind, solar and nuclear energy.

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03/13/14. 01:53:16 pm. Categories: Articles, Latin American Law & Business Report ,

Promoting Energy Security and Tackling Climate Change: Missed Opportunities at the Cartagena Summit

[ excerpt from "The Road to Hemispheric Cooperation: Beyond the Cartagena Summit of the Americas" (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, July 2012)

By Thomas Andrew O’Keefe

The Context

One of the most pressing issues affecting the future of countries in the Western Hemisphere is securing reliable and affordable energy resources that do not contribute to climate change or further degrade the environment. A report issued by the United Nations Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in December 2009 noted that while the greenhouse gas emissions of Latin America and the Caribbean represent a small share of the global level, the region will be severely impacted by climate change.1 Furthermore, some areas of Latin America are expected to experience severe water stress, which will affect the water supply and hydroelectric power generation. This could lead to much greater reliance on fossil fuels than is currently the case. In general, the anticipated rise in sea levels due to melting polar ice will increase the number of people displaced and the land lost due to permanent flooding. Small Caribbean island states will be especially impacted. Climate change will also translate into significant and often irreversible losses in biodiversity, which is particularly serious in a region that encompasses several of the most bio-diverse countries in the world.

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08/11/12. 06:36:41 pm. Categories: Articles ,

IACC Part II - Responding to Challenges; Chapter 5: Building on Sub-Regional Economic Integration Projects to Forge An Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas

Inter-American Cooperation at a Crossroads publication download order form

Inter-American Cooperation at a Crossroads: Part II - Responding to Challenges; Chapter 5: Building on Sub-Regional Economic Integration Projects to Forge an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas; by Thomas Andrew O'Keefe


By the time U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama appeared at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad in April 2009, the ambitious initiative to economically integrate the Americas that had previously dominated the Summit of the Americas process lay in tatters. Accordingly, there was much speculation as to what Obama would say in Port-of-Spain, especially given that US relations with the Western Hemisphere had barely surfaced as a topic of debate during the presidential campaign. The only policy address Obama had given during the campaign on Latin America and the Caribbean was to the right-wing Cuban American National Foundation in Miami, in May 2008. That speech had focused almost exclusively on topics designed to attract votes from the influential Cuban-American community in South Florida.

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05/10/11. 11:42:41 am. Categories: Articles ,

The Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas

By Thomas Andrew O’Keefe (Mercosur Consulting Group, Ltd.)
Latin American Law & Business Report, Volume 18, Number 5 May 2010


The first ministerial for the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) occurred in Washington, D.C. on April 15-16, 2010 and was attended by 32 of the 35 governments in the Western Hemisphere. The first day of the energy ministerial, hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank, was open to the private sector, academics, and non-governmental organizations. ECPA is the first initiative offered by the Obama administration, and likely to be the only one during its first term in office, encompassing the entire Western Hemisphere.

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02/11/11. 05:20:48 pm. Categories: Articles ,

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