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Connecting the Americas in 2022

High voltage wires.
High voltage wires.

U.S. joined Colombia and other leaders of the Western Hemisphere in committing to achieve universal access to electricity over the next decade.

At the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, the United States joined Colombia and other leaders of the Western Hemisphere in committing to achieve universal access to electricity over the next decade through enhanced electrical interconnection.

This initiative, developed by Colombia and called “Connecting the Americas 2022” will increase access to reliable, clean, and affordable electricity for the region’s 31 million citizens without it.

According to the International Energy Agency, the Western Hemisphere requires over $700 billion in power sector investment by 2035, and according to the IDB, a 26 percent increase in new power generation. Electrical interconnection benefits all countries by allowing those with excess power to export electricity to countries that have a power deficit. Interconnected power systems allow for greater integration of renewable energy resources, as well as power exchanges among countries with varying climate and seasonal needs.

Interconnection expands the size of power markets, creating economies of scale, which can attract private investment, lower capital costs, and reduce electricity costs for consumers -- that makes businesses more competitive and helps create jobs. When coupled with national strategies to develop off-grid, mini-grid, or clean cook stoves, electrical interconnection will bring modern energy services to those who have limited or no access.

To support Connecting the Americas 2022, which supports the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, the U.S. Department of State is sponsoring a meeting on Central American power sector integration efforts in Guatemala a dialogue with Caribbean energy ministers, and will observe an Andean Energy Ministerial meeting in Chile September 27-28.

The U.S. Department of State is also providing grants and assistance including, support for Smart Grid technology demonstration projects in Latin America; increased technical assistance for development of commercially sustainable regional power trade between Central America, Mexico, and Colombia; and technical assistance to governments and utilities in Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis to develop their geothermal sectors and establish the frameworks needed to support inter-island power connections.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) supported a feasibility study on electrical interconnection between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which concluded that the interconnection is technically and economically possible.
Clean, affordable, sustainable energy is major goal of United States policy, for the Americas and for the world.