Renewables have become the main source of energy generation in El Salvador, a firm commitment by the government that benefits Salvadoran families. According to data from the new General Directorate of Energy, Hydrocarbons, and Mines, until November 2022, this type of production represented 83% of the national energy matrix.
In addition, according to data from the institution, renewable sources generated a total of 4,446.24 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2022, higher figures than in previous years; however, the institution reported that new projects will be carried out this year with which it seeks to increase 122.8 megawatts (MW).
Among the new projects announced by the administration of President Nayib Bukele are the Talnique solar plant, which will generate 17 MW; the 3 de Febrero hydroelectric plant, which will produce 65.7 MW; and two geothermal plants: one in Chinameca, in San Miguel, which will generate 20 MW, and another in San Vicente, which will produce 10 MW. In addition, the new Acelhuate biogas plant in San Salvador has a capacity of 5.43 MW.
With these new projects, the government seeks to boost the national electricity sector, which had a boost in 2022. Currently, El Salvador is consolidated as one of the countries in the region that is most committed to the generation of renewable energies, thanks to President Nayib Bukele’s strategy to diversify the energy matrix. These actions and the good management of resources allowed for $46 million in energy to be exported to neighboring countries.
According to management data, until November 2022, the installed capacity of renewable energy plants in the country is distributed among hydroelectric (28.4%), solar (26.4%), biomass (14.7%), geothermal (10.2%), wind (2.71%), and biogas (0.42%).
The management reaffirmed that the resource with the greatest presence in the energy matrix, considering the wholesale market and distributed generation, is hydro, with around 2,233 GWh per year, followed by geothermal, with 1,595 GWh, and in third place, solar, with 1,117 GWh. “[Before] there was no interest in developing renewable energy. Today, it is not like that. We reclaim the resources that are already available in the country. It is time to come and produce with that clean energy,” the president of the Central Reserve Bank (BCR), Douglas Rodríguez, recently stated.
Similarly, Daniel lvarez, president of the Lempa River Hydroelectric Executive Commission (CEL), stated, “We have the capacity to complete the energy matrix, even to export energy to neighboring countries like Guatemala. “Our energy is the cheapest in the region.”
On the other hand, thanks to the development of projects led by President Bukele, El Salvador was able to position itself last year on the radar of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which classified it as a country with high potential in the field.