Renewable Energy in Latin America

Latin America is rich in natural resources including hydrocarbon, hydroelectricity and biofuels. From Mexico to Chile, countries in the region are producing clean energy. However, according a 2013 Inter-American Development Bank study, the region still has a long way to go, even though investments in renewable energy are increasing.

Other studies suggests that Latin America has all the resources needed to be completely depended on clean energy, but governments undermine renewable energy efforts to increase oil, coal, and natural gas exports.

Lithium Boom

Bolivia has a long and sad history of booms and busts.  Its economy has been dominated by extractive industries like tin, silver, guano, nitrates, and, most recently, coca – the precursor of cocaine.


This film explores the importance of lithium industry and how alternative energy development will effect the landlocked Andean country. In 2013, Bolivia opened its first lithium production plant at the cost of $19 million dollars and as a flagship of the country’s move towards commodity export. 


The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that Bolivia has 5.4 million tonnes of lithium.  Will the country again be at the losing end of globalization with the industrialized north reaping most of the benefits from knowledge-based economy and Bolivia just mining the primary resources?  Is Bolivia really the new Kuwait and what will rapid economic growth do to the historically underdeveloped country?


The video examines this possibility and details why the Morales Government favoring China and other allies against “Western” mining interests?  How do workers feel about staying within the monocultural (primary commodities only) economic model?


The film also delves into ownership over the lithium rights?  The communities, municipalities, department, state enterprise, or private companies?   And, importantly, for the U.S. economy, how will the needs of Silicon Valley and global demand be met going forward?