Publication: Planning for Higher Oil Prices : Power Sector Impact in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Yépez-García, Rigoberto Ariel
San Vicente Portes, Luis
García, Luis Enrique
A scenario with higher oil prices has important implications for diverting from oil-based technologies to renewables, as well as gas, coal, and nuclear alternatives. By 2030, energy demand in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is expected to double from 2008 levels. A key issue is deciding on the most appropriate mix of fuels for power generation, given the various prices of energy sources and technologies, as well as availability of renewable energy. The study's broad aim is to evaluate the impact of higher oil prices on the cost of generating electricity in countries of the LAC region so that better-informed energy policy planners can buffer future adverse effects. The study defines high oil prices as those above United States (U.S.) $100 per barrel. This price is considered a reasonable starting point for discussion given the recent range in oil prices, which averaged $95 a barrel in 2011. A price of $150 per barrel is defined as considerably high yet plausible given historical and current price levels, available forecasts, and other potential price drivers. The study's specific objectives are to: (i) analyze the economic effects of higher oil prices on LAC countries, particularly oil importers; (ii) assess the short-term impact on electricity generation costs based on the composition of generation matrices across countries of the region; and (iii) quantify the long term impact on electricity costs if countries modify the composition of their generation matrices in response to higher oil prices. This report is organized as follows: chapter one gives introduction. Chapter two presents the framework for analyzing the impact of higher oil prices, including an overview of recent price trends, major drivers of oil and gas prices, and a medium-term scenario under which higher prices might occur. Chapter three analyzes the impact of higher oil prices on LAC countries. Chapter four focuses on the short-term impact of higher oil prices on the electricity sector and the potential impact on the cost of generation, depending on the planning decisions made for future electricity generation. Finally, chapter five offers policy makers recommendations on the relevance of considering the potential impact of higher oil prices on countries' fiscal and trade balances, the cost of electricity to final consumers, and the impact that such cost may have on the competitiveness of their productive sector.
Yépez-García, Rigoberto Ariel; San Vicente Portes, Luis; García, Luis Enrique. 2013. Planning for Higher Oil Prices : Power Sector Impact in Latin America and the Caribbean. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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