On June 27–28, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), with support from the U.S. Department of State, hosted a dialogue in Washington on promoting regional electricity integration. The talks were in support of the Connecting the Americas 2022 (Connect 2022) initiative, through which governments work together to provide universal access to electricity over the next decade, and the Central American Integrated System Project (SIEPAC), which connects Central America's national power grids.
Government leaders, utilities representatives and domestic regulators from the seven Central American countries, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico attended the talks along with private sector representatives and U.S. government officials.
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman delivered keynote remarks, emphasizing how reliable and affordable electricity is essential for continued social and economic development. She discussed the imperative of providing reliable, affordable electricity to everyone in the Hemisphere by 2022 and noted the need for governments to complete the physical infrastructure of the SIEPAC line, define model contracts for investment in the region, and leverage additional private capital to support further development of renewable energy.
Panel discussions between U.S. and international energy companies focused on commercial opportunities in the region, the financing of low-carbon energy projects, and strategies to advance a regional power market.
Opening remarks by IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno emphasized that high energy costs reduce the region’s competitiveness. José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General for the Organization of American States and Federico Renjifo Vélez, Colombia's Minister of Mines and Energy also delivered remarks. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz met with his counterparts from the region.
Roberta Jacobson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Ambassador Carlos Pascual, the State Department's Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, led discussions with government leaders.
Mesoamerican governments signed a Joint Declaration and Action Plan, which identified concrete objectives and steps forward to support functional regional electricity market integration. The Declaration reaffirmed the governments’ commitment to act together to claim the enormous benefits that integrated electricity markets and greater deployment of low-carbon energy can bring to the region.