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Renewable Energy Supply in Argentina. A Critical View

Diskussionsbeitrag / Streitschrift 2019 8 Seiten

Politik - Internationale Politik - Region: Mittel- und Südamerika


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Definition

3. Energy Supply in Argentina

4. Comparison with China’s energy mix

5. Position of the United Nations (UN)

6. Critical Aspects

7. CO2-emissions

8. Conclusion

9. Sources



Argentina is one of the best-known model countries in the implementation of "Renewable Energy". This article examines Argentina’s energy policies and their efficiency. In addition, a short comparison with China is drawn up and the position of the UN is taken into account.

Key words

Argentina, energy efficiency, renewable energies, CO2 emissions, energy mix, sustainability viewed critically

1. Introduction

This article aims to consider and analyze critically the topic of renewable energies. The focus in this consideration is set on Argentina, but also with a comparison to China. In addition, the position and perspective of the United Nations concerning renewable energies will be illuminated. In this context, the theory of global warming due to human caused CO2 emissions will also be discussed. At first, however, the article begins with the definition of renewable energies.

2. Definition

In order to properly explore the topic of “renewable energy supply in Argentina”, it is necessary to define the term of “renewable energy”. According to the webpage ScienceDaily1 a renewable energy is from an energy resource that is replaced rapidly by a natural process such as power generated from the sun or from the wind. At Wikipedia2 we can read, that renewable energy is mainly collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat.

However, these general definitions do not consider the efficiency of so called renewable energy power plants or a possible additional consumption of natural resources. These issues, as well as possible emissions from this type of energy production will be discussed subsequently in this article.

3. Energy Supply in Argentina

The Internet sources that describe the energy supply of Argentina offer completely different statements.

One source for example claims, that Argentina's energy supply is heavily influenced by fossil fuels. According to this source about 50% of the production is based on gas, about 39% on oil and about 1% on coal. The remaining 10% are generated from renewable energy sources, especially hydropower. Additionally is stated, that Argentina must import its energy sources, in particular liquefied petroleum gas, from abroad which reduces the country's fiscal leeway.3

Another source says that Argentina generates most of its energy with so-called renewable energies. In this sector hydropower accounts for 41% of electricity generation; another 7% are supplied by nuclear power plants4 and 52% by thermal power plants. In addition, Argentina has large deposits of natural gas. This form of energy is used for cooking and heating, but also as a fuel for cars.5

According to the same source another important area of Argentine electricity supply is wind energy. Wind energy is legally funded in Argentina. Also the import of natural gas, for example from Bolivia, is playing an increasingly important role due to the mismanagement of the local energy companies, the shortage of natural gas reserves and the rapidly increasing energy consumption. Furthermore Argentina retains nuclear energy and is in co-operation with international suppliers of nuclear power plants.

A further source (WorldData)6 is more precise in the description of Argentina’s energy mix and offers the following data:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The same source also claims that Argentina has a 10% share of renewable energy.

It is difficult to assess the validity of the different available data. However, this section showed and contrasted different information about the energy mix in Argentina. The data on renewable energies in Argentina are very different from each other. Other sources would again indicate other numbers.

4. Comparison with China’s energy mix

In order to have a comparison with one of the largest industrial countries in the world, China's energy mix is described in this section.

Since 2004, the Chinese (as well as the Indian) energy and raw material demand have forced worldwide energy and raw material prices to increase. For a long time, China’s demand for oil began to shape its foreign policy. That is particularly apparent in the worldwide acquisition of oil fields and refineries in states such as Iran, Russia, Sudan, and Iraq. Some tension with Japan in April 2005 for example, stemmed from a conflict about the exploitation of the oil fields in the East-Chinese Sea.

In China’s energy mix, coal is and always will bear the main burden of China's energy supply. Coal is China’s most important source of energy and covers about 70 percent of its energy demand. This is followed by oil (about 18 percent), hydroelectricity (about 6 percent), as well as gas and nuclear power and wind energy. However, China's coal consumption is projected to decline to 45 percent in 2040.7

5. Position of the United Nations (UN)

The UN is the largest and most powerful supranational organization in the world, therefore its decisions and referendums have a major impact on the entire world. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN states the position of a dramatically reduction of the energy consumption of so called fossil fuels. This drastic measure will cause major economic impacts worldwide. These radical measures are justified by the UN with the theory of the so called man made global warming caused by Co2-emissions.

The aim of the UN policy is to limit global warming to 1.5%.8 This aim is propagated, although the theoretical percentage of global warming without the radical measures of the UN is not known.

6. Critical Aspects

Argentina promotes strongly so-called renewable energies.9 But legal subsidies are only necessary if there is no natural profitability. If a business model were profitable, in this case the ability to create energy out of "nothingness" like natural wind, it would automatically attract investors. Anyhow, if the costs of investment are higher than the expected profit a system is not efficient.

The reason for the high production costs of the so-called renewable or sustainable energies such as wind and hydro power lies in the difficulty of technical implementation. Solar panels and magnets of wind power plants need rare earths, hence very limited raw materials on this planet. Sun as well as wind power plants are very inefficient in energy production, have a short life time and finally must be disposed as toxic waste. Furthermore these technologies do not provide a constant supply voltage necessary for area-wide power grid.

For the construction of wind power plants gigantic concrete pedestals have to be set into nature which can never be removed again and change the landscape irreversibly. The wings of wind power plants shatter thousands of flying animals, such as birds or bats, everyday. It has been proven that the vibrations of wind power stations make people and animals in the area sick.

All these critical aspects are considered neither in the general definitions of the so called “Renewable Energies” nor by the UN and their drastically worldwide political policies.


1 see: ScienceDaily: Renewable Energy. URL:

2 see: Wikipedia: Renewable energy. URL:

3 see: eclareao: Renewable energy sources in Argentina. URL:

4 Annotation: nuclear power is not considered as renewable energy in general.

5 see: Global Energy Network Institute (GENI): National Energy Grid Argentina. URL:

6 Energy consumption in Argentina. URL:

7 see: Pichler, Bernhard: China`s economic rise and the impacts on its energy strategy. (2017), S. 64 f

8 see: United Nations: Climate Change. URL:

9 see: Marcacci, Silvio in Forbes: Argentina may be the hottest renewable energy market you haven’t heard of. Can it spur a global boom? Oct. 15, 2019: URL:


ISBN (eBook)
renewable energy supply argentina critical CO2 renewable energy



Titel: Renewable Energy Supply in Argentina. A Critical View