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[Opinion] Brazil: new electricity prices to increase by 7.17% in 2017 to pay off government debt

Brazil: new electricity prices to increase by 7.17% in 2017 to pay off government debt

The news is spreading across Brazil: the government owes private transmission companies USD 20.3 billion (R$ 62.2 billion) and energy consumers will pay the price. The Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency – ANEEL – will increase electricity bills on average by 7.17% for residential and industrial consumers starting this year to help pay off their debt.

On February 22, 2017, this announcement has been broadcasted throughout all news channels in Brazil.

Why does the government owe transmission companies USD 20.3 billion (R$ 62.2 billion)?

In 2012, president Dilma Rousseff’s administration demanded transmission companies to accept changes to their contracts before renewing their concessions.  As part of these changes, companies had to pay for infrastructure upgrades, with the understanding that ANEEL would reimburse all related costs. Additionally, a new mandate required transmission companies to reduce electricity costs for residential and industrial customers by 20%.

ANEEL expected to start repayments in 2013; however, there were delays in negotiating the contract terms. The government realized in 2015 that they had insufficient funds to pay the transmission companies, which delayed the process even more. Ultimately, the agreement was signed in 2017 and stipulates that the government owes USD 20.3 billion (R$ 62,2 billion) to be paid over the course of 8 years. To finance this debt, the electricity tariffs for residential and industrial energy consumers will be increased by 7.17%* on average. The first installment of USD 3.5 billion (R$ 10.8 billion) will be paid in 2017.

How can industrial customers protect themselves against rising electricity costs?

New regulation makes it easy for industrial and commercial customers to switch to distributed generation and produce their own electricity using solar power. Not only will this protect energy consumers from volatile electricity tariffs, but this will also allow them to reduce annual energy costs as well as dependency on the national grid.

 
* Tariff increases can range anywhere between 1.13% to 11.15%

[Press] The Guardian asked & our CEO responded on "What's next for renewables in cities"

The Guardian asked & our CEO responded on "What's next for renewables in cities"

As part of Guardian Sustainable Business’s redesigning cities series, Faro's CEO Sarah Chapman provides her expert opinion on the changing landscape of distributed generation and the benefits of rooftop solar: "it's cheaper than the alternatives".  

Read more here on the Guardian site!

 

[Opinion] Our mission: to accelerate distributed clean energy in emerging markets

Our mission: to accelerate distributed clean energy in emerging markets

By: Sarah Chapman

 The new year seems like a good time to reflect on and refresh Faro Energy’s mission - and our vision for getting there. 

Over the next decade, energy markets need to transition from centralised, dirty power generation to clean, distributed power. This transition is essential; to prevent climate change, for public health, for energy security and resilience and for growth and prosperity. 

In fast growing emerging markets, this transition cannot come soon enough. Rapid energy supply growth is needed to support economic growth and increasing prosperity. However, air pollution from fossil fuel power plants is killing 7 million people a year [1], flooding from new hydro projects threatens fragile ecosystems and communities, increasingly erratic climate conditions threaten hydro generation predictability, and increasing frequency of natural disasters is making centralised systems vulnerable.

Distributed, clean energy is the only sustainable way for our economies to keep growing.

Faro’s mission is to accelerate this transition. 

The good news is that in sunny places, distributed solar presents a very competitive price when compared to conventional power sources - and so there is no major economic trade-off between clean and cheap.

Despite this, the transition to distributed clean energy is not happening anywhere near fast enough. And every new power plant (small or large) built this year will last for 20-50 years - so the decisions made now will affect the dynamics of the energy market for years to come. 

Faro is unlocking access to capital for this sector, ensuring upfront costs are not a barrier to deployment. It is developing first in market power-purchase agreements and rental agreements; adapting business models and contractual structures from more mature solar markets. And Faro is helping build the local supply chain and technical capacity, by partnering with local engineering firms and providing training.

Faro also aims to be catalytic in attracting capital to distributed solar in emerging markets. As Faro proves its own track record of deploying capital and generating reliable returns, it is also building track record for the whole sector. Faro wants to facilitate a large scale shift of conventional capital into emerging market energy infrastructure. We will have achieved success when major institutional investors are deploying billions of dollars into this space, and achieving long term reliable returns.

[1] Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

 

[Press] The future of wind and solar: our CEO joins the Guardian roundtable

The future of wind and solar: our CEO joins the Guardian roundtable

Faro's CEO, Sarah Chapman, participated at a Guardian roundtable on wind and solar to discuss the future of renewable energy in light of the changing political climate. Read the Guardian's article HERE to catch up on key conclusions made by the participants, including representatives from Faro Energy, the International Energy Agency, E.ON Climate and Renewables, The Carbon Trust, Siemens Wind Power UK, and UNEP, among others. 

 

 

[Press] Sarah Chapman featured on BBC Business Live!

Sarah Chapman featured on BBC Business Live!

Sarah was recently featured on the popular BBC business show, where the hosts inquire about how Faro Energy is helping address the global energy transition to renewable energy.  Enjoy!

 
CEO Sarah Chapman discusses the need for greater investment in renewables, in particular, solar power in Latin America. She also touches on how Faro Energy provides businesses with an option which hedges their long-term energy costs with no upfront investment, while providing investors with a stable and predictable long-term investment.

[Opinion] ....Our New Name: Faro Energy..Nuestro nuevo nombre: Faro Energy..Our New Name: Faro Energy....

....Photo by Dennis Jarvis..Foto por Dennis Jarvis..Photo by Dennis Jarvis....

....Photo by Dennis Jarvis..Foto por Dennis Jarvis..Photo by Dennis Jarvis....

....Our New Name: Faro Energy

We are changing the name of our business to Faro Energy

A new day is dawning for Iwana, and today we are delighted to announce something we have been working on for weeks. Iwana Energy has been on a mission for the past 3 years to bring international capital and solar experience to emerging markets, enabling corporate clients to seize the economic opportunity from switching to solar through world-class partnerships and local relationships.  This year has been our best year ever, expanding our reach to South America, opening offices in both Colombia and Brazil, and building a team that spans 3 continents!  With this expansion comes the increasing need to have a brand that is immediately recognisable and memorable across the various cultural settings we now embody.  

It is with great pleasure that I reveal to you today that Iwana Energy will from now on be known as:

Faro Energy

Why change?

As our business has grown across Latin America, we have outgrown the name Iwana.

Iwana is the original Taino word for “Iguana”. In Taino mythology, the Iguana represented the goddess of the sun – which seemed appropriate for a solar company. However, increasingly our name has been lost in translation, particularly in Portuguese.  So, we have decided to embrace change, and choose a name that more accurately captures the vision of our role in the marketplace.  

Our whole team came together to reflect on our identity: what does this business mean to us, and what do we want it to mean to our customers, partners and investors?

We believe that Faro will be a brand that will grow with us for years to come.

And with the name, a new logo, one that we believe is simple, memorable and enduring.

 

Faro Spanish meaning: Lighthouse

We chose a name connected with the native language of the markets we primarily serve, which are predominantly Spanish-speaking. Faro, in Spanish, means “lighthouse”.  Lighthouses exist in nearly every country in the world with a coastline, and have guided adventurers, traders and travelers to safety for thousands of years. The lighthouse has been ever-present as a beacon of hope, and certainty of solid ground, for thousands of merchants travelling by sea, opening new industries and trade routes across the world. We see many parallels with our business. Faro Energy is facilitating the new distributed energy industry transition to solar; Faro is guiding the way for investors, facility owners, engineers and entrepreneurs alike in this new sector, and in ever-expanding geographies.

Lighthouses themselves have been at the forefront of the energy transition. Over the years, lighthouses have been powered by open wood fires, whale oil, gas, diesel generators and more as technology has evolved. In fact, lighthouses were among the earliest adopters of solar PV and battery-based backup due to their remote locations, generating their energy right at the point of use, with no need for fuel delivery or grid connection. Today, most lighthouses around the world are solar powered.

We believe that the many connotations of the lighthouse strongly align with our mission and values, and we commit to being a guiding light in the Latin America solar market for many years to come. 

..

Nuestro nuevo nombre: Faro Energy

Hemos cambiado el nombre de nuestra empresa a Faro Energy

Un nuevo día amanece para Iwana y hoy nos complace compartir la primera mirada a algo en lo que hemos estado trabajando durante las últimas  semanas.

Durante los últimos 3 años Iwana Energy asumió el compromiso de llevar capital internacional y experiencia solar a los mercados emergentes permitiendo de esta manera a nuestros clientes  aprovechar la oportunidad económica que ofrece el cambio a energía solar. El 2016 ha sido nuestro mejor año pues hemos ampliado nuestra huella en Suramérica abriendo oficinas en Colombia y Brasil. Hoy contamos con un equipo que se extiende a través 3 continentes. Con esta expansión surge la necesidad de tener una marca que genere reconocimiento inmediato y que además sea memorable en los distintos entornos culturales en los que ahora operamos.

Es un  gran placer para nosotros  revelar a ustedes que Iwana Energy de ahora en adelante se llamará:

Faro Energy

¿Por qué el cambio?

La palabra Iwana proviene de la lengua taína, y significa “iguana”. En la mitología taína, la iguana era la diosa del sol. Originalmente este concepto debido a nuestro enfoque en la energía solar nos resultó un justo nombre. Sin embargo, a medida que hemos crecido el significado real de nuestro nombre se ha ido perdiendo en la traducción,  particularmente en el idioma portugués. Dadas así las cosas, decidimos aceptar el cambio y buscar un nombre que refleje con mayor precisión la visión de nuestra función en el mercado.

Con el nuevo nombre diseñamos también un nuevo logotipo, que creemos es simple, fácil de recordar y que será duradero.

 

Detrás del Nombre

Decidimos elegir un nombre arraigado en el castellano, idioma preponderante en nuestros mercados principales: Faro.

Existen faros en casi todos los países del mundo que cuentan con salida al mar, y estos han servido de guía para orientar a comerciantes y viajeros durante miles de años. El faro siempre ha sido visto como un símbolo de esperanza y tierra firme. Para miles de comerciantes que zurcan el mar, abriendo nuevas industrias y rutas comerciales, el faro es sinónimo de certeza. 

En el faro vemos muchas similitudes con nuestros propósitos. Faro Energy está facilitando la transición a una nueva era de la industria de la energía solar distribuida señalando el camino para inversionistas, desarrolladores, ingenieros y empresarios en nuevos mercados y en constante expansión.

Los faros siempre han estado en la vanguardia de la transición energética. Desde su introducción  los faros han sido iluminados con la combustión de diferentes elementos, madera y aceite de ballena en los primeros años, después gas natural, diésel y otros hidrocarburos a medida que la tecnología ha ido evolucionando. De hecho, los faros fueron entre los primeros usuarios de la energía solar fotovoltaica debido a su ubicación remota que necesitaba generación en sitio sin necesidad de suministro de combustible o conexión a la red. Hoy la mayoría de los faros en el mundo funcionan con energía solar.

Creemos que el simbolismo histórico del faro se ajusta fielmente a nuestra misión y valores. Estamos comprometidos a ser una luz que ilumina el mercado de energía solar en América Latina en los años por venir.

.. 

Our New Name: Faro Energy

We are changing the name of our business to Faro Energy

A new day is dawning for Iwana, and today we are delighted to announce something we have been working on for weeks. Iwana Energy has been on a mission for the past 3 years to bring international capital and solar experience to emerging markets, enabling corporate clients to seize the economic opportunity from switching to solar through world-class partnerships and local relationships.  This year has been our best year ever, expanding our reach to South America, opening offices in both Colombia and Brazil, and building a team that spans 3 continents!  With this expansion comes the increasing need to have a brand that is immediately recognisable and memorable across the various cultural settings we now embody.  

It is with great pleasure that I reveal to you today that Iwana Energy will from now on be known as:

Faro Energy 

Why change?

As our business has grown across Latin America, we have outgrown the name Iwana.

Iwana is the original Taino word for “Iguana”. In Taino mythology, the Iguana represented the goddess of the sun – which seemed appropriate for a solar company. However, increasingly our name has been lost in translation, particularly in Portuguese.  So, we have decided to embrace change, and choose a name that more accurately captures the vision of our role in the marketplace.  

Our whole team came together to reflect on our identity: what does this business mean to us, and what do we want it to mean to our customers, partners and investors?

We believe that Faro will be a brand that will grow with us for years to come.

And with the name, a new logo, one that we believe is simple, memorable and enduring. 

Faro Spanish meaning: Lighthouse

We chose a name connected with the native language of the markets we primarily serve, which are predominantly Spanish-speaking. Faro, in Spanish, means “lighthouse”.  Lighthouses exist in nearly every country in the world with a coastline, and have guided adventurers, traders and travelers to safety for thousands of years. The lighthouse has been ever-present as a beacon of hope, and certainty of solid ground, for thousands of merchants travelling by sea, opening new industries and trade routes across the world. We see many parallels with our business. Faro Energy is facilitating the new distributed energy industry transition to solar; Faro is guiding the way for investors, facility owners, engineers and entrepreneurs alike in this new sector, and in ever-expanding geographies.

Lighthouses themselves have been at the forefront of the energy transition. Over the years, lighthouses have been powered by open wood fires, whale oil, gas, diesel generators and more as technology has evolved. In fact, lighthouses were among the earliest adopters of solar PV and battery-based backup due to their remote locations, generating their energy right at the point of use, with no need for fuel delivery or grid connection. Today, most lighthouses around the world are solar powered.

We believe that the many connotations of the lighthouse strongly align with our mission and values, and we commit to being a guiding light in the Latin America solar market for many years to come.

....

[Opinion] The Role of Renewables in Colombian Energy Security

The Role of Renewables in Colombian Energy Security

 

By: Carlos Urueta and Farah Mohammadzadeh Valencia

 

Wind, Solar and other non-hydro renewables are essential to transform energy security and corporate competitiveness in Colombia.

 

Hydropower accounts for 70% of Colombia’s current energy matrix, and is Colombia’s cheapest source of energy. By definition, hydropower is susceptible to water levels and thus extremely vulnerable to droughts. Furthermore, while it is considered “clean”, it is not always sustainable due to the devastating impact it can have on land use and natural habitats.  It is in this context that Colombia now evaluates its energy security. Encouraging broad development of wind, solar and other non-hydro renewables (NCRE) could prove a far more compelling solution to address Colombia's energy supply concerns.

 

El Niño exposes chronic inefficiencies in the energy market design. As a hydro-heavy country, Colombia depends wholly on the availability of backup thermal generators to supply energy during dry periods. Since thermal generation is costly and commodity prices volatile, consumers pay a surcharge called cargo por confiabilidad as part of their electricity bills to finance backup thermal plants that promise to generate electricity on demand. This subsidy scheme seemed to work for years when climatic conditions did not reach the severity of the current Niño. But the recent need to increase energy prices to provide further support to these thermal generators has left consumers distraught. With generators like Termocandelaria reporting financial losses and underinvestment, Colombians are frustrated and demand greater government scrutiny into how the cargo por confiabilidad is managed questioning also why the original surcharge was not enough. What is clear is that Colombia’s ongoing climate crisis has tested the current system to its limit.

 

Renewables are a cheaper and more reliable alternative to thermal generation. Colombia boasts exceptional non-conventional energy resources like solar, wind and biomass. In fact, solar is among Colombia’s most abundant resources given its proximity to the equatorial zone. By making better use of these renewable resources, the government could make Colombian energy supply more reliable and cost effective.

Colombia has a daily average solar radiation of 4.5 to 5 kWh/m2 and extraordinary levels near the Guajira Peninsula that surpass 6 kWh/m2. Likewise, the Guajira region is endowed with one of the highest wind potentials in South America. These resources could be better utilized in light of the decreasing costs that renewables offer. Global solar production costs for instance have fallen 95% in the past decade, meaning solar can now deliver a savings to most Colombian consumers; commercial, industrial and residential alike. Although not as dramatically, wind energy costs have also become cheaper, making wind a viable alternative to fossil fuels in the region like in Peru. In fact, it is not uncommon today to see wind energy projects around the world deliver electricity as low as USD 0.04/kWh.

 

Law 1715 of 2014 first step in the right direction. In May 2014, the Colombian government took a significant step and passed Law 1715 to establish the legal framework and instruments to actively promote and integrate NCRE into the national energy system. Law 1715 outlines the incentives that make non-hydro renewables economically feasible. These incentives include (1) 50% income tax exemption for up to 50% of the initial investment, (2) accelerated depreciation of assets, (3) Value-added-tax exemption on goods and services related to the investment and (4) import duty exemption on raw materials and components for the development of non-hydro renewable projects. The new law also envisages credits for energy injected to the grid or net-metering though the mechanics of this commercial incentive have not yet been fully outlined.

The Colombian government sees Law 1715 as an opportunity to improve its overall economic competitiveness. Investments in renewable energy will allow Colombia to develop skills and jobs in a globally budding market. As the study on “Integration of non-traditional renewable energy in Colombia” illustrates, Colombia has a unique opportunity to play an important role in the NCRE sector and much to benefit.

 

 The regulation published in conjunction with Law 1715 [1] is a good first step. The law addresses key tax provisions and size of self-generation or distributed energy initiatives. And while these are important measures, future laws could go further to accelerate the transformation of Colombia's energy sector.

For example, Law 1715 does not incorporate the feed-in-tariff [2] and competitive net-metering models that have enabled regional neighbors like Chile and Peru transform their energy supply. If Colombia is to reach a meaningful transformation in energy generation, the government could consider sponsoring utility scale auctions. Thanks in large part to this model, in Chile at year-end 2015, NCRE accounted for 11.4% of its installed capacity compared to 2.4% in 2005. In the case of Peru, this number reached 6.2% at year-end 2015 versus 4.8% in 2009. In Colombia, NCRE represents less than 0.1% of total energy generation. The pace and nature of the growth in these neighboring countries is due to concerted efforts to implement explicit auction timelines for technology-specific (e.g. wind, solar, biomass, small hydro) supply. The result for Chile and Peru has been cleaner, environmentally friendly, reliable and less expensive energy.

 

Near-term perspective still encouraging. With the new regulations, combined with Colombia’s strong record of sound economic policies, nearing accession to the OECD and safe stewardship of investment friendly corporate laws, Colombia is attracting the attention of a growing number of renewable energy developers and investors. Their presence in Colombia should help to maximize the potential of the current regulatory environment and pave the way to further deregulation and modernization of the energy system. Further liberalization of a controlled market is not new to Colombia. It has happened in telecom and hydrocarbons, and is now much needed in the power sector. With climatic changes exposing the weaknesses of stop-gap measures like the cargo por confiabilidad, Colombia should finally follow a path to a diverse, clean, modern energy supply matrix.

 

 

[1] Ministerio de Minas y Energía Decree 2469, Comisión Reguladora de Energía y Gas 0-16 and Unidad de Planeación Minero Energética Resolution No. 28

[2] Government guaranteed rates for large-scale NCRE development

 

 

[Event] Iwana sponsor and present at III Foro Panamá Energiá 2015 Conference

Iwana sponsor and present at III Foro Panamá Energiá 2015 Conference

Central American Renewable Energy Forum and III Panama Energy Forum -  September 23-24, Panama City

Iwana Energy assisted Energyear as a content sponsor at the third edition of their Panama Energy Forum, that for the first time had a second day dedicated to renewables in the whole Central American regions, with special sections on Colombia and Cuba.

The forum was a success both in terms of content and participation, with over 100 assistants and speakers that included policy and regulation leaders such as Panama's Vice-Minister of Finance as well as CEOs and board level executives of the leading companies operating in the region.

Jaime Alvarez, Iwana's Chief Partnerships Officer, sat on the Central America Solar Energy panel, providing his view on Private PPAs and acted as Guest Moderator for the full Central American Forum. Carlos Urueta, Iwana's Andes General Manager, was the Guest Moderator for the Panama Forum and the sole speaker for the panel on Colombia.

The two days delivered powerful messages on how, regardless of the current low prices of oil and therefore energy in the region, with the right regulatory framework, there is still a crucial role to be played by renewables on delivering clean solutions for the region's current and future energy needs. Distributed solar will be particularly valuable  in fulfilling not only generation but also transmission needs, in those countries where the regulator is bold on setting clear and friendly policies. 

 

 

[Event] TEDxGuatemalaCity - "How solar is disrupting the global energy system"

TEDxGuatemalaCity - "How solar is disrupting the global energy system"

Solar will change the global energy system over the coming decade. Iwana is part of this transition.

Our CEO, Sarah Chapman, explains our vision for the future of solar at the TEDx Guatemala City conference - an independently organised TED event.

IFC publishes revised Utility-Scale Project Developer's Guide

The IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank, has published a revised Project Developer's Guide on Utility-Scale Solar PV Power Plants.

The guide "aims to enhance the understanding of how to successfully develop, finance, construct, and operate utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants" and covers both technical and commercial aspects of solar project development.

The revised guide includes annexes with a review of common construction mistakes, typical heads of terms for EPC and O&M contracts and an annex on technical aspects of rooftop solar construction. The guide is an excellent resource and Iwana's encourages its partners in emerging markets to make use of it as a reference.  

The guide, contributed to by Iwana's Project Portfolio Director, Lauren Inouye, is available on the IFC's website here.