Envisioning Solar Cities in Argentina

Martin Orecchia
Friday, December 10, 2010

The energy issue is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today. The intensive use of fossil fuels that made the industrial revolution possible has had many unintended consequences. In Argentina, more than 90% of primary energy is from oil and gas. Yet not only are we running out of fossil fuels in Argentina, but we are already beginning to see the impacts from climate change.

The solar fair.
The solar fair.
Taller Ecologista
At Taller Ecologista , we believe it essential to more quickly adopt renewable energy in Argentina not only to reduce energy consumption from non-renewable sources, but also to contribute to improving the quality of life for all sectors of our society.

My organization is currently working on the formation of a Solar Cities Network. The program's goals include the widespread adoption of solar energy, new regulations to encourage the use of renewable energies, capacity building, technology transfer and the creation of internal markets so that solar manufacturing jobs are created here.

We are now into the second year of our pilot program, called Rosario Solar. In order to promote and publicize the potential of using solar energy and resources, we conducted "Rosario Solar 2010," where companies and organizations set up 20 information booths demonstrating solar equipment (water heaters, stoves, ovens, solar panels, solar lamps, etc.).

"More than 5,000 people passed through the exhibition, learning about the benefits of using these products, pricing, operations, and so on. During the exhibition visitors could taste foods made in different ovens and solar cookers," said Paul Bertinat, Energy Coordinator of Taller Ecologista.

Cooking with a solar stove.
Cooking with a solar stove.
Taller Ecologista
Thanks to the great success of the event, we were able to hold similar events in other cities. Equally important is the fact that in each of these cities we are working to create new regulations that may provide a regulatory framework to promote the use of such energy sources.

We are also sponsoring a project designed by the Centre for Energy and Sustainability of the National Technological University, Facultad Regional Rosario, to develop a mobile solar water heater. It is now being used for demonstrations in the field for teaching and training.

"We're working to make our region into a model of power generation in the country with an abundant, safe, renewable, easy and proven technology," concluded Bertinat.

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  • The author is with Taller Ecologista, an Argentinian NGO that works on energy issues and promotes the democratic use of water resources.