Energy profile: Guatemala
Fuel mix (fossil fuels vs renewables)
In 2018, Guatemala derived 57.43% of its total energy supply from biofuels and waste, followed by oil (29.54%), coal (7.68%), hydro (3.22%), and other renewables such as wind and solar (2.12%).
Despite hydro power's relatively small contribution to total energy supply, it accounted for more than a third of installed electrical capacity and more than half of electricity generation in 2020.
Greenhouse gas emissions targets
Guatemala's most recent national energy plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 29.2% between 2017 and 2032 through energy efficiency and renewable energy. Guatemala outlined a slightly more modest GHG reduction goal in its 2017 Nationally Determined Contribution proposal, pledging a 22.6% reduction vs. business as usual by 2030. A critical pillar for achieving Guatemala's goals is the reduction of deforestation.
Government energy agencies & other key players
National energy ministry
MEM (Ministerio de Energía y Minas) is responsible for policy development, planning, and programming of all things related to the energy sector.
All projects that could create an environmental hazard must obtain an environmental impact assessment from the MARN (Ministerio de Ambiente y Recursos Naturales). Permits are also required by the municipality where the project is to be based.
The DGH (General Direction of Hydrocarbons) regulates the hydrocarbon sub-sector.
Guatemala's three main electrical distribution companies - EEGSA (Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala SA), DEORSA (Distribuidora de Electricidad de Oriente S.A.), and DEOCSA (Distribuidora de Electricidad de Occidente S.A.) - are responsible for 84% of national coverage. The Guatemalan energy grid was privatized over two decades ago, which negatively affects many rural communities that do not have reliable and affordable energy.
National oil company
Guatemala does not have a national oil company. Perenco and Pacific Rubiales are important private oil companies operating in the country.
As of 2020, Guatemala had 4110 MW of installed electrical capacity, based primarily on hydro power (38.38%), fossil fuels (30.36%), and biomass (25.20%). Other renewable sources represented a much smaller percentage of capacity, including wind (2.61%), solar (2.25%) and geothermal energy (1.20%).
Guatemala produced 11,121 GWh of electricity in 2020, fueled by hydro power (52.30%), fossil fuels (24.88%), biomass (15.55%), wind (2.81%), geothermal (2.46%) and solar energy (1.99%).
In 2019, Guatemalans used 772 kWh per capita.
Coal in Guatemala
Guatemala does not produce coal. As of 2016, Guatemala consumed 1,751,571 tons of coal, approximately 105,624 per capita annually. Guatemala imports all of the coal it consumes, primarily from Colombia and the United States.
Oil & Natural Gas in Guatemala
Guatemala produces 9,600 bbl/day as of 2018 and has approximately 83.07 million bbl in proven reserves. The country produces 1,162bbl/day of refined petroleum products. Guatemala does not produce any natural gas.
Guatemala consumed 89,000 bbl/day as of 2016 of refined petroleum products.
Imports & source countries
Oil and gas is imported primarily from the United States and Mexico.
Proposed new sources & projects
The ECLAC plan to connect Mexico with Central America features a proposed 600km pipeline that would transport Mexican natural gas from Salina Cruz, Mexico to Escuintla, Guatemala.
Guatemala's most important pipeline is the 474 km Hydrocarbons Stationary Transport System, which brings oil from the Campo Xan and Rubelsanto fields to the Puerto Santo Tomás de Castilla export terminal.
Renewable Energy in Guatemala
Guatemala plans to fuel 80% of its electricity matrix with renewable energy by 2030. Guatemala's policy for rural electrification focuses on renewable energy sources such as solar PV, wind, small hydroelectric plants, and hybrid power plants. National electricity agency EEGSA has recently made moves to replace coal-fired power plants with energy from renewable sources, as evidenced by the results of Guatemala's 2020 energy tender.
An increasing number of small-scale electrical plants based at Guatemalan sugar mills have begun to burn bagasse (sugar cane residue) during the harvest season as an alternative to coal and other fossil fuels. Despite a 7.2% drop in the 2020-2021 sugar harvest due to COVID-19, sugar mills still contributed 30% of the energy consumed in Guatemala during the harvest season from November-May.
Guatemala is greatly affected by the impacts of climate change such as rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall, and hurricanes. Indigenous Guatemalans have often borne the brunt of environmentally damaging energy and mining projects, prompting community protests. Persons defending land and territory are at risk of aggressions, threats, murder, criminalization, and stigmatization according to a 2021 study by the OMCT; Between 2019 and 2020 females were at particularly high risk with 28 attacks during this period.
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