April 2016, Buenos Aires – Renewables 100 Policy Institute Founder and Board Chair Angelina Galiteva was invited by the Technological Institute of Buenos Aires (ITBA) as part of the the U.S. State Department Expert Speakers program to travel to Buenos Aires to meet with public and private sector energy leaders about how Argentina can increase its share of renewable energy up to 100%. The week long visit, which was coordinated by ITBA and the U.S. Embassy, included roundtable discussions, private meetings, and public presentations with a range of stakeholders, including the City of Buenos Aires legislature, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Argentine Entrepreneurs Civil Association (EMPREAR), the Argentine Environmental Protection Agency (APRA), and national government energy and environment leaders.
“The future is electric, integrated, cleaner, and wireless,” Angelina Galiteva told her hosts, adding that “we have renewable resources and the appropriate technology to power the planet. The challenge lies in how to install them, that is, how how to technically develop the renewable energy grids and networks.”
Throughout the week, Galiteva offered encouragement to think of a 100% renewable energy future as realistic and full of opportunity,. She likened the challenge to the Moon Shot program that propelled humans to the moon. “We did not strive for 20% or 30% of the way,” she noted, adding that if we are to maintain international commitments to reducing greenhouse gases, there will indeed be no choice but to go 100% renewable for our energy supply.
Angelina Galiteva was granted a certificate of honor by the City of Buenos Aires
Galiteva noted that getting to 100% renewable is not easy, but it is doable, adding that we collectively have choices about whether to do it in expensive ways or in smarter ways that involve different sectors of society working together and integrate consumers and prosumers into the transition.
She said that a foundational step is to make our buildings more energy efficient, through types of construction, windows, lighting, heating, etc. As an example of a government framework to encourage this effort, she shared that California has adopted a policy to make all new residential buildings net zero by 2020 with new commercial buildings following by 2030. But old buildings must also be retrofitted to use less energy and to generate energy where possible. So, for example, if a building needs a remodel, it should be upgraded to use energy more efficiently and generate as much of its own energy as is feasible with solar panels and other available renewable technologies.
We also have to stop use of dirty fuels in our transportation sector, Galiteva added, which accounts for a large share of greenhouse gas emissions. This can be done with electric vehicles, hydrogen based fuels, and getting people out of cars altogether by encouraging walking, bicycling, telecommuting, and taking public transportation that runs on electricity generated by renewable sources.
She pointed out that there are already towns and regions in the world that operate on 100% renewable energy or are on their way, from Costa Rica to the U.S. to Germany to Denmark and beyond. Some are even net exporters of renewable electricity.
Galiteva also emphasized that we must think of the energy transition as a multi-sector process that will involve more efficient and intelligent ways of using and reusing water of managing agriculture and of integrating digital and communications technologies into our energy systems.