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Cablegate: Ecuador's Efforts On Renewable Energy

Published: Wed 21 Nov 2007 02:09 PM
VZCZCXYZ0034
OO RUEHWEB
DE RUEHQT #2526 3251409
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211409Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8072
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 7102
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 2757
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 0790
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 2136
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 3041
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
UNCLAS QUITO 002526
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
DEPT FOR WHA/EPSC FAITH CORNEILLE AND OES CAMILLE HILL
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ENRG EINV EC
SUBJECT: ECUADOR'S EFFORTS ON RENEWABLE ENERGY
REFTEL: STATE 138428
1. (U) This is a response cable to reftel, which lists key
countries invited to the State Department-hosted 2008 Washington
International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008). Ecuador was
not included as a key country. Post believes Ecuador is interested
in attending WIREC and that there is a strong justification for its
inclusion in the conference. Details of Ecuador's tangible
contributions to accelerate the use of renewable energy follow. If
approved, we would recommend an official delegation headed by
Electricity and Renewable Energy Minister Alecksey Mosquera.
2. (U) Ecuador is highly focused on hydroelectricity as a source of
renewable energy, and the GOE is seeking to increase Ecuador's use
of hydroelectricity in order to meet growing demand and reduce its
reliance on its largely old, inefficient and polluting
petroleum-fired electricity plants. On average, approximately 50
percent of Ecuador's electricity is provided by hydroelectric plants
(this varies depending on the season - in the rainy season
hydroelectricity can provide 60-70 percent of the country's power;
in the dry season the numbers are reversed). The GOE has plans to
substantially increase the country's use of hydroelectricity and has
earmarked a large amount of government funds for additional
hydroelectric projects, drawing largely from a petroleum reserve
fund.
New Government-Funded Hydroelectric Projects in the Works
--------------------------------------
3. (U) The following are key new hydroelectric plants in Ecuador
which will supplement its existing hydroelectric infrastructure.
The government-funded San Francisco hydroelectric plant, drawing
from an already-existing hydroelectric dam, became operational this
summer. It provides 140 megawatts (mw) of electricity. Mazar,
another major hydroelectric plant of 170 mw on the Paute river, is
under construction and is scheduled to come online at the end of
2008. The GOE has put aside $320 million for the project. Another
major project in the works is the Sopladora plant. The GOE has made
a down payment of $190 million on the project, which is in the final
phase of study. The plant would provide 500 mw of electricity and
will probably be completed in 2010. Total cost for the project is
estimated at $400 million.
Efforts with Other Renewables
-----------------------------
4. (U) The GOE is also focusing on other sources of renewable
energy. A biofuels pilot project in Guayaquil, working with
Brazilian state oil company Petrobras to distill ethanol from
sugarcane and mix it with gasoline, is in the early stages. Carlos
Pareja, head of the Ecuadorian state oil company Petroecuador, has
said he wants to sell ethanol gasoline in Petroecuador's commercial
gas stations, once the pilot project is operational. Several
alternative energy projects are also under construction in the
Galapagos, using resources such as wind energy, to promote the use
of renewable energy and efforts to maintain the delicate ecosystem
in the Galapagos. The San Cristobal Wind Project, that seeks to
install a wind-diesel hybrid system on San Cristobal Island in the
Galapagos, is a good example of this. Ecuador is also a member of
the Methane to Markets Partnership, and as part of that is exploring
opportunities for landfill biogas. The Ministry of Environment held
a conference in August 2007 to familiarize its partners with the
fundamentals of landfill biogas use and capture. At the conference,
the Ministry presented a model developed by the U.S. EPA called the
"New Ecuador Landfill Gas Model," which was designed to help Ecuador
develop more robust estimates of landfill biogas generation and
recovery potential at individual disposal sites around the country.
JEWELL
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