So it seems that, as we advanced in our 2008 predictions, energy is going to be the issue for Latin America this year. At least that's what the reactions to every announcement related to the subject show.
Last week, Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kircher claimed the country has saved 600 megawatts of energy thanks to the efficiency plan the government launched last December, informs Mercopress independent news agency.
Even though energy savings are always good news, her statement was not welcomed with applause: the press, society and industrial sectors still remember that the previous government (conducted by her husband) denied for years that Argentina could be going through an energy crisis. Additionally, she omitted to note that consume in January was about 5% higher than the same month's last year, according to a press release by Fundelec.
On top of that, her announcement came just a few days before her meeting with Brazilian and Bolivian presidents to discuss gas supply, which is expected to lack during the approaching winter.
(Picture: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at a summit with Buenos Aires suburbs mayors. Credit: U24)
"I was speaking to Under-Secretary Roberto Baratta (Planning Ministry) on the numbers we're seeing concerning energy rationing and we're in the order of 600 megawatts," were the words of president Fernandez de Kirchner during an act with mayors from Buenos Aires suburbs, according to Mercopress. She also mentioned that Argentina and Chile are working together in energy efficiency measures, but did not reveal more information.
Despite the critics those words received, the president has other issues to worry about regarding the country's energy supply. Next February 23rd, she will meet with her colleagues Luis Inacio da Silva and Evo Morales, Brazilian and Bolivian presidents, in order to discuss the shortage of gas expected for this winter.
During a visit to Brazil last week, Bolivian vice president Alvaro Garcia Linares said his country's gas supply wouldn't be enough to meet the neighboring countries needs. And Brazil and Argentina are both dependent on Bolivian gas, specially in winter, when heating needs increase the demand.
"According to the Buenos Aires press sources, Argentina is 'confident' that Bolivia will comply with the agreement signed last year for the daily provision of 7.7 million cubic meters of gas. But the quick reaction to vice president Garcia Linares visit means there is concern. Apparently, the Bolivian official said in Brazil that current levels of supply are ensured but certainly not the 2 to 3 million cubic meters additional provision necessary to cope with the expected winter demand increase," informed Mercopress news agency.
Argentina and Brazil aren't the only ones with energy issues these days. On another note, last week Chile announced energy saving measures to avoid having to turn to rationing. Those actions include extending the daylight saving time one more month, reducing the energy voltage in 10%, and encouraging measures to increase the hydroelectric production.