May 14, 2016

UNASUR-GRID: Financing Sustainable Energy Sovereignty with the Bank of the South

This is a new book chapter of mine on the use of local finance in South America to integrate national electrical grids into a UNASUR regional electric GRID which moves to 100% renewable inputs.

Tony Phillips (2016), UNASUR-GRID: Financing Sustainable Energy Sovereignty with the Bank of the South, in Constantin Gurdgiev , Liam Leonard , Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-perez (ed.) Lessons from the Great Recession: At the Crossroads of Sustainability and Recovery (Advances in Sustainability and Environmental Justice, Volume 18) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.77 - 109

This chapter presents a South American perspective on the environmental and financial sustainability of energy integration incorporating recent financial lessons from the United States and Europe. An illustrative project is presented to highlight new thinking on funding ecologically sensitive development (post-carbon electricity generation) and regional energy sovereignty via a new regional development bank for the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) called Bank of the South, Banco del Sur (BDS). Sustainable BDS finance rules are presented that aim to break the link between development funding, environmental damage, and sovereign debt owed to banks outside the region, tapping into alternative finances to buffer the region against changes in global financial flows from core nations in the Great Recession.

Findings
Development finance must reflect changes in both energy supply and demand while replacing fossil fuel inputs in electricity generation. Demand planning is necessary to attain sovereignty over a post-carbon electricity supply while maintaining dependability.

Practical implications
Successful energy cooperation is more than just energy infrastructure (UNASUR-GRID), cross-border confidence building is also required, reinforced by commercial treaties for energy exports and imports. Public and private national and regional energy companies need real incentives to trade internationally (improving competition) or renationalisation of supply and distribution may be necessary.

Keywords:
UNASUR, Banco del Sur , Bank of the South, Sumak Kawsay , Electricity Grid, post-carbon Emerald Group Publishing Limited