USAID Regional Clean Energy Initiative
Tetra Tech provided independent, expert services to local and regional policy makers, regulatory agencies, power market administrators, and investors through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Regional Clean Energy Initiative (RCEI). RCEI aimed to advance the development of the regional electricity market in Central America to enhance economic growth, including job creation, improved power system reliability and competition, and reduced energy costs and environmental impact. Additionally, RCEI improved quality of life and citizen security in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador through the implementation of clean energy projects.
The program provided technical assistance to national and regional entities to fill in regulatory and policy gaps, address market barriers, and build capacity toward strengthening institutions, diversifying the energy matrix, and promoting the efficient use of energy resources.
Tetra Tech has led much of the reform and privatization of the power sector in many of the countries in Central America from 1996 to 2006. [Their] knowledge and current continued physical presence and ongoing technical support and coordination have been critical to provide effective support in the region for the evolution of legal and regulatory framework.Joseph Terrazas, Contracting Officer, USAID/Central America
Tetra Tech supported a unified regulatory and trade policy to develop the Regional Electricity Market and improve the investment atmosphere for renewable energy. We also assisted the Central America regional regulator (CRIE) and the regional market operator (EOR) in handling transactions and mechanisms for submitting energy offers to the Regional Electric Market by national operators and market participants. We helped renewable energy projects overcome regulatory, financial, social, and environmental obstacles and helped develop energy efficiency equipment standards and labeling. Tetra Tech also supported public lighting pilot projects, including developing technical equipment standards.
Clean energy generation and energy consumption reduction through increased energy efficiency contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. This initiative sought to achieve a balance between the environment and society, favoring their integrated development. It also aimed to improve quality of life for the people of Central America while contributing to electrical supply security, job creation, economic growth, and the stability of energy prices.
Tetra Tech’s work included:
- Reviewing national and regional policies and regulations for the Regional System Operator and identifying barriers and improvements
- Developing strategic plans for key institutions associated with the regulatory market and policy and oversight
- Studying national and regional regulations on taxation, treaties under the Central American Integration System, and the regional regulator’s internal procedures that will improve the investment climate in renewable energy generation
- Developing integrated institutional and procedural guidelines for development and approval of new energy projects including contractual, financial, and installation information
- Providing technical assistance to develop efficient public lightning programs with municipalities in coordination with Consejo Nacional de Energía (CNE) in El Salvador
Several energy transactions have been completed, raising the number of available gigawatt hours from 300 in 2010 to more than 1,000 in March 2014, which has resulted in improved power availability at more competitive and stable prices, in addition to CO2 reductions.
During the fifth year, the project received a funding increase and began to focus on implementing small-scale clean energy projects in rural communities, along borders, in public hospitals, and within educational facilities.