New Ecological Hopes for Guatemala
by Diana Pastor
Throughout the past year, there were a large number of power outages in Quetzaltenango. The National Institute of Electrification (INDE), said the mayor owed 850 million quetzales for the municipal electricity service. INDE, threatened local quetzaltecos with a city-wide suspension of service. Such a huge amount of money like that might well have been better spent by investing in more intelligent forms of renewable energy production.
However, many of the governors in various communities across the country, rely on the large infrastructure projects as a means to preserve and secure their hold on power and many people appreciate the huge grey structures as one of the highest peaks of “development”. They are completely unaware that there are other projects that are undoubtedly more worth the investment, such as ecological projects that can bring large-scale benefits to communities and a hugely beneficial environmental impact.
The current outlook for these technologies is not exactly what one could call an inspiring one. According to a study by the Solar Foundation, the use of various sources of clean energy in the country is presented as follows: Hydroelectric power, used by 17% of the population but potentially available to 83% of the population; geothermal: used by 5% but available to 95%; solar: used by 1% and but available to 99% of the population; and, incredibly, wind energy could potentially be harnessed for 100% of the population and yet all of this energy potential is wasted.
Notwithstanding, initiatives that have been undertaken in recent years, such as the contest held by Guate Verde Company have enabled new projects not only in renewable energy but also recycling to become a reality. QUETSOL, for example, whose main products are centred on solar energy that produce clean energy at reduced costs and are currently working to enhance the coverage of the population with solar panels with the help of Guate Verde. RECELCA is a company that provides services for the recycling of electronics, trying to provide a solution to the rubbish problem of these types of products that are poorly treated in the country.
RAKAN-KOJ INGENIEROS is a company developed mainly in the field of rural agribusiness, offering products for pavements and paths for pedestrian use, using raw materials made from solid plastic waste. INPRODE SA in Sololá is engaged in the production and commercialisation of natural fertilizer, made from the organic waste of local families and schools in Solola and its municipalities. PROYECTOS Y SISTEMAS have developed a device that is capable of regulating the temperature of showers without having to depend on water pressure, in the process conserving both water and electricity.
So whilst Guatemala may be somewhat slow on the uptake of renewable energy across the country, particularly if we are looking at the (basically non-existent) efforts the government, initiatives like these can give us hope for a greener and more ecological Guatemala for 2014.
For more information on these projects, and others, you can visit the website http://www.guateverde.com/