Contents

Introduction

Transmission and distribution are the backbone to any country's electricity infrastructure, but failure to adequately plan and execute works can cause constraints and shortfalls, delaying the construction of new power plants and deterring investment, situations that have already befallen several countries in the region, such as Brazil and Chile.

Private investment in transmission is a relatively new opportunity in the region, as state-owned firms previously took care of the construction of such infrastructure, and tenders are emerging for major transmission projects in countries across the region, bringing new opportunties for private investors, attracting the attention of major players.

But as with all electric power infrastructure projects, along with those in other sectors, transmission works inevitably face obstacles such as land procurement and access, with the need to carry out environmental, social and, in countries such as Mexico, archeological and geophysical studies to determine a project's possible impact, and which can cause delays and, in some cases, a rerouting of projects.

"A big problem we see as an industry is that it takes so long to get transmission approved and built that it already has constraints by the time it comes online," according to Nico Johnson, founder and producer of SunCast, a podcast focusing on solar power, and who has worked in Latin America for companies including Trina Solar and Faro Energy.

This report provides an up-to-date look at transmission development in the region's major markets - Argentina, Brazil, Central America, Chile, Mexico and Peru - and a brief glance at other countries in a bid to identify opportunities for investment in transmission infrastructure across the region. It also highlights the challenges facing investors and governments amid the need to provide sufficient transmission capacity as a raft of projects come online from power auctions, and as the region shifts toward renewables.

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