Energy consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean with data from OLADE

Energy consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean with data from OLADE

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I remember the exact day, Monday March 24th. It was a cold, clean and sunny morning; I was at the corner of «Amazonas y Mariana de Jesus» when finally a taxi came to my rescue and I asked:

– «Avenida Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre?»

The driver looked at me and said, in a very cordial tone:

– «Pase no más, ahí le vemos»

In the cab we started chatting about the direction and I said the first thing that came to my mind:

– «Ahí se encuentra OLADE»

The answer was:

– «Déjeme ver… la OLADE… ¿No es un edificio blanco y azul sobre la Occidental?»

– » Yo creo que sí»

Later I learned that the «Av. Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre» is well known as «la Occidental». In that way I began my first day as hydrocarbons coordinator in OLADE, the Latin American Energy Organization with headquarters in Quito. I remember well the date because when I saw the streets passing thought the window I tought: «Today is my birthday.»

Formally, the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) ( is «political and technical support Organization through which its Member States make joint efforts for regional and sub-regional energy integration.» Nice vision to be presented at summits and high-level meetings, but I have an alternative one: OLADE is the official energy reference in the region, with the taste of us… the Latin and Caribbean flavor. I don’t want to diminish the work of many other organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean and North America that do a great job with statistics. I just want to note that OLADE is the reference of recent history in our region, not only by their statistics, also because in your library you will find documents that reflect, in one way or another, the ideological adventures that from time to time «charm» our countries.

You, my dear reader, may think that an organization like the one I describe has a generous budget and at least 500 people working on it. But no, there’s a group than 50 of fewer people that multiply efforts and optimize a very tight budget. So when I say «the taste of us,» I imply that Latin America and the Caribbean public sector are not so different. It’s clear that is people in our region whom make the institutions.

One of the most interesting tools that OLADE offers is the Energy – Economic Information System – SIEE ( Through this database is possible to know the economic and energy information of Latin America and the Caribbean. Here’s an example.

By using the energy matrix information I built some indicators presented in the following table. You will find the energy consumption growth for Latin America and the Caribbean over the last 44 years. Naturally this representation is a very condensed abstraction of reality and it only serves for explanatory purposes; as usual, in this blog I try to explain energy issues as I would like to explain complex issues me, for example related to telecommunications where all I know (and lucky) is «watsapear» – as Santi says.

Energy Consumption – Latin America and the Caribbean

Source: SIEE – OLADE. Interested readers can download the statistics here

What do these «small circles» says? Something we already knew some time ago, the appetite for oil and natural gas in the region is huge. However, the details are more tasty: 1) the rate growth of natural gas consumption is higher than oil,; 2) wood consumption decreased slightly; 3) the is and increase use of biofuels and; 4) for the joy of many good friends, hydropower, geothermal and others consumption (what we might call «friendly renewables») has a non-negligible growth rate.

It’s comforting to decode our reality using homemade instruments… the taste of our own.

Finally comment that this database is free for students and people working at energy ministries, it’s only matter to contact with OLADE and have the necessary information. So I invite you to walk around our beloved OLADE that over the years and constant daily work teaches and reminds us the true value of good institutions.

Mauricio Medinaceli Monroy

Kabul, March 2nd., 2015