Microgrid Energy Assessment in Guatemala

January 24, 2018 - January 28, 2018
The CLDP delegation visiting the Xacbal hydroelectric power plant in Quiche, Guatemala

From January 25-28, CLDP conducted a microgrid energy assessment in Guatemala City and Quiché, Guatemala. While in Guatemala City, CLDP met with key energy stakeholders including distribution and transmission companies, the Association of Renewable Energy Generators, and a private company providing solar energy kits for single homes as well as isolated systems for larger consumers. In these meetings, CLDP sought to gauge interest from the private sector in microgrids as well as analyze the barriers to catalyzing private financing into this sector. For this project, CLDP will provide technical assistance on developing legal and regulatory frameworks to incentivize the use of microgrids to the governments of both Guatemala and Honduras.  

Guatemala, in contrast to Honduras, presents a mature energy market. Guatemala’s energy generation exceeds demand, and approximately 60% of generation comes from renewable sources. On Feb. 27-28, the CLDP delegation traveled outside of Guatemala City to visit the Xacbal hydroelectric power plant, one of the largest in Guatemala. Despite an installed capacity of 94MW, however, many of the rural communities surrounding the dam have no access to the energy generated there. In fact, around 10% of homes in Guatemala are not connected to the national grid.

Electricity access and reliability of electricity supply are key components of economic growth both in rural communities and for industries. CLDP met with rural community leaders frustrated by limited access to electricity, as well as businesses looking for more reliable energy in order to increase production. Microgrids may offer solutions to both groups. CLDP’s technical assistance program will help stakeholders develop model contracts, tender procedures, financial models, and other commercial tools needed to attract private investment into the market for microgrids. U.S. companies in particular are interested in accessing the Central American market provided a clear and transparent regulatory environment. During this first assessment, CLDP gained an understanding of the Guatemalan energy market, including the challenges it faces in rural electrification and the barriers to economic growth posed by unreliable access to electricity. Additional consultations are planned for April 2018 in order to identify areas where CLDP technical assistance can have the greatest impact.

Funding from this project comes from the Department of State as part of the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America, a bipartisan, multi-year U.S. government plan promoting institutional reforms and addressing developmental challenges in the region. This project is one of three that CLDP is implementing in the region in support of the Strategy’s aim to protect American citizens by addressing the security, governance, and economic drivers of illegal immigration and illicit trafficking, while increasing opportunities for U.S. and other businesses.

A live map of Guatemala's transmission lines in the offices of Trecsa, a transmission company operating in Guatemala
CLDP meeting with rural community leaders affected by poor access to electricity in Quiche, Guatemala

CLDP in Action

December 12, 2019

On December 12, in Manama, Bahrain, CLDP held a workshop focused on technology transfer for representatives from government, academia, and the startup community. 

Read More about Bahrain Innovation and Technology Center Capacity Building Training