Venezuela is not a country known overall for her renewable energy policy. The nation is an oil giant in the South American region and supplies a fairly large quantity of crude oil to the United States, and other countries, on a yearly basis. Considering the fact that the oil industry in Venezuela continues to promote the fossil fuel industry and the pollution of the lands and seas around the nation, the need for them to begin adopting renewable energy seems to be a bit high. In an announcement yesterday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez revealed an agreement his nation has made with Portugal in order to bring renewable energy to their shores.
In hopes of strengthening ties with Portugal, diversifying their oil client list, and bringing on the renewable energy, Venezuela has signed an agreement with the European country in a move has surprised some. The deal will have the Portuguese setting up renewable energy projects in Venezuela as a way of boosting their own economy as they try and come out of a recession from last year. Currently, Chavez has said that they are hoping to start four wind projects throughout Venezuela as their way of kicking off the renewable energy revolution in the country. Chavez also said in his statement that the agreement between the two countries would be beneficial to both in the changing global economic environment and because he believes that renewable energy is the future.
Although it is true that the agreement works for both nations economically, Venezuela also benefits from choosing Portugal due to their renewable energy portfolio. Since Portugal relies almost entirely on foreign oil imports, they have been spending a considerable amount of time working on a plan to fully convert the nation into a renewable energy powerhouse. Their wind and solar projects are quickly spreading across the nation and many believe they will surpass their other ambitious European comrades in no time at all as they reach for higher and higher renewable energy goals. Paired with their rather impressive attempts at wave and tidal energy, Portugal was a good choice to work with if Venezuela wants to move into renewable energy quickly and efficiently.
Overall, Venezuela is in dire need of some strong renewable energy projects if they plan to move away from an energy system that relies solely on oil, natural gas, and coal. However, some critics of the announcement remain unconvinced that Hugo Chavez has any real plans to commit to a gradual and substantial change towards renewable energy systems. We will find out soon enough whether or not Venezuela does end up committing to any change towards renewable energy and, if they do, it will be interesting to see a nation so strongly embedded in the oil energy making huge strides towards renewable energy.
Article by Richard Cooke, appearing courtesy Justmeans.