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Bolivia strives to become LatAm's green energy leader

Staff Writer |
Bolivia plans to harness the power of its natural resources in a bid to become a leading generator of renewable energy in Latin America, officials and experts have said.

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Abundant sunshine, rivers and windswept regions make the South American country a potential powerhouse of clean energy, Deputy Minister of Electricity and Alternative Energy Bismar Canelas Revollo told Xinhua.

"We have natural qualities, projects underway and a strategic plan towards 2025 with financial backing to convert us into a regional leader in renewable and clean energies," said Canelas.

Bolivia's government has some 30 projects aimed at developing solar, wind, geothermic, hydraulic and biomass energy, with an eye to supplying the population and exporting the excess electricity.

Bolivian nuclear energy expert Francesco Zaratti believes Bolivia must focus on feasible environmentally-friendly solutions to power homes.

Around the world, there has been a boom in renewable energies as nations try to wean themselves from their addiction to fossil fuels, and Bolivia is well placed to do just that, he said.

"Bolivia has great energy potential to generate electricity through alternative sources, such as wind, solar, geothermic, hydro power and biomass," he said.

However, generating energy from renewable sources is not an easy task and needs commitments from the public sector, he added.

"It is a very complicated ... job that requires the related agencies to develop strategic processes, a whole state policy," said Zaratti.

Bolivia potentially has numerous sources of energy, he said, adding the country currently uses hydro power, natural gas and oil to produce electricity, and has dabbled in solar, geothermal and wind energy.

The Bolivian government's medium and long-term plan for renewable energies earmarks more than 1.5 billion U.S. dollars for 30 different hydroelectric, wind, solar and geothermal energy projects across the country, according to Canelas.

Some of those projects have already made headway, he noted.

By 2025, Canelas said, Bolivia will be producing more than 500 megawatts of alternative energy thanks to the projects underway.

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