While Central America is not a major contributor to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, opportunities for GHG mitigation—ranging from small, yet scalable activities to larger, more capital-intense measures—exist within the region. Though a lack of a strong legal framework and institutional capacity may hinder progress towards clean energy development, there is demonstrated success in the region, both in improving existing infrastructure and in meeting development needs with clean technologies.
Toward this end, USAID supported an assessment of the energy and greenhouse gas emission benefits associated with USAID’s renewable energy development and energy efficient street lighting efforts in El Salvador using the online Clean Energy Emission Reduction (CLEER) Tool.
The Regional Clean Energy Initiative (RCEI)
RCEI is a five-year USAID project (2012–2017) that provides technical assistance to Central American institutions to facilitate renewable energy development and energy efficiency. Between 2013 and 2014, USAID supported the General Electricity and Telecommunications Superintendence in two projects: a 15 MW distributed renewable generation reverse auction worth US$45 million and a 100 MW non-conventional renewable generation reverse auction with a total investment of US$200 million. An auction of an additional 150 MW of renewable projects, expected to come online in 2018, stems from USAID analysis. In total, USAID support in El Salvador has led to US$720 million in clean energy investments, including 320.7 MW of solar and 40 MW of wind power.
In addition to supporting renewable energy development, USAID has assisted with an energy efficient street lighting program in the Salvadorian municipality of Zacatecoluca. For this project, USAID helped estimate the costs and benefits of adding 1,668 energy efficient streetlights, and donated 177 energy efficient lamps to the project.
GHG Estimation through the CLEER Tool
The RALI team estimated the expected energy and GHG impacts of these renewable energy investments and the energy efficient street lighting initiative in El Salvador by obtaining project information from RCEI and using the CLEER Tool to calculate savings.
The CLEER Tool results show that for the renewable energy capacity projects, 330,437 tCO2e will be avoided in 2018 from the 320.7 MW added capacity of solar energy, and 56,128 tCO2e will be avoided from the 40 MW added capacity of wind. From 2018-2030, the total emissions avoided will reach over 4.8 million tCO2e. These calculations assume that the additional demand would have been met in the absence of the new renewable capacity energy capacity projects. For the energy efficiency streetlight program, energy consumption will be reduced by 61%, leading to a reduction of 7,180 tCO2e from 2016-2026. If all public lighting in El Salvador were replaced, a total of 407,030 tCO2e could be avoided.
- The Resources to Advance LEDS Implementation (RALI) Project Fact Sheet provides information on project activities
- The CLEER Tool website includes all CLEER materials, including the online tool, user guides, and (if needed) Excel-based calculators.
- The CLEER Tool Training Webinar video guides new users through use of the tool.
- The CLEER Protocol includes all technology-specific methodologies for estimating GHG impacts.
- The CLEER Fact Sheet provides background on the CLEER tool and resources.
Any feedback or questions on the CLEER Tool can be sent to [email protected].
Derina Man is a Senior Managing Consultant at ICF, a global professional services firm that delivers consulting services and technology solutions in energy, climate change, and other areas. Derina provides technical and policy support related to low-emissions development strategies, greenhouse gas accounting and mitigation, and the phase-out of fluorinated gases. She is currently the project manager for the USAID Transparency and Long-Term Strategies project.
Kevin Kurkul is an Associate at ICF, a global professional services firm that delivers consulting services and technology solutions in energy, climate change, and other areas. Kevin leads outreach and training for the Clean Energy Emission Reduction (CLEER) Tool, which enables users to estimate, track, and report GHG reductions from clean energy. Kevin also works on developing new methodologies to estimate GHG reductions from clean energy, and on developing GHG inventories and reporting guidelines.
John Venezia is a Principal at ICF, a global professional services firm that delivers consulting services and technology solutions in energy, climate change, and other areas. John manages the development of the Clean Energy Emission Reduction (CLEER) Tool, which enables users to estimate, track, and report GHG reductions from clean energy. He has 18 years of experience in greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory development, designing GHG estimation and reporting guidelines, and analyzing the costs and reduction potential of GHG mitigation strategies. He is an internationally recognized expert in energy GHG emissions and in national GHG emission inventories, and serves on the UNFCCC's Roster of Experts.