Venezuela is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of crude oil. It relies on conventional sources, such as large hydro, which represents half of its 30.4GW installed capacity, natural gas and oil.
State-owned Corporación Eléctrica Nacional (CORPOELEC), the sole power generation, distribution and transmission company, controls Venezuela’s electric system. It was created in 2007 from a merger of 14 regional public and private companies. The Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Energía Eléctrica (MPPEE) is in charge of formulating and implementing energy policies. After large hydro, the bulk of Venezuela’s installed capacity is oil and diesel (8GW) and natural gas (7.4GW). Renewable energy from non-conventional sources makes up less than 0.2% of total capacity, and is comprised of 25MW of small hydro, 50MW of wind and 2.3MW of solar.
Low reservoir levels at Venezuela’s hydro plants, along with a lack of investment, poor maintenance and planning have compromised the country’s power supply. Venezuela is facing its worst power crisis, forcing the government to focus mostly on power-saving initiatives. In April 2016, the government set mandatory furloughs for state employees on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Additionally, power cuts have been mandated for four hours daily.
Venezuela has almost 100% grid coverage, and its electricity prices are heavily subsidised. In 2014, the average retail rate was $0.02/kWh, the lowest in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2005, FUNELEC, a technical institution devoted to electric sector development, created the Programa Sembrando Luz to bring solar- and wind-powered electrification to the handful of rural and indigenous areas not connected to the grid. As of September 2012, the program had installed 3,139 renewable energy systems in more than 1,000 communities. In addition, there has been some development on utility-scale projects. In early 2015, a 1MW solar project in the archipelago of Los Roques was commissioned, part of a diesel-PV hybrid plant.
On 12 December 2015, the government of Venezuela submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations, committing conditionally to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% below the business as usual (BAU) scenario by 2030. This reduction is conditional on international support.
Venezuela scored 0.56 in Climatescope 2016, an improvement on its tally of 0.40 in 2015. The country sank three places to rank 57th overall, above only Suriname. It best performance was in Low-Carbon Business & Clean Energy Value Chains Parameter III.
On Enabling Framework Parameter I, Venezuela was last out of the 58 developing nations surveyed. Its score of 0.44 reflected the absence of any renewable power plants and lack of policies, except for its clean energy rural electrification programme.
On Clean Energy Investment and Climate Financing Parameter II, it took 52nd place with a score of 0.23. A total of $120m was invested between 2011 and 2015, split between the biofuel and wind sectors.
The country scored 1.34 and was placed 35th on Parameter III, its best performance by far. There were seven clean energy companies active, but none in the distributed clean energy power sector.
On Greenhouse Gas Management Activities Parameter IV, Venezuela was ranked 52nd, a poor performance that illustrated its lack of carbon reduction policies and offsetting activities.
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