President of Argentine member committee speaks to us ahead of our energy leaders'summit in Bariloche

14th May 2018

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Ahead of our World Energy Leaders’ Summit in Bariloche next month we speak to Jorge Bacher, President of the Council’s Argentine member committee, about his expectations for the event; the country’s contribution to the energy transition, energy prices, and the rise of renewable energy generation. Mr Bacher has worked for PwC until 2017 and has been a partner for 28 years. His primary role is the Energy & Utilities (E&U) Leader for Argentina and South America. He has also been a member of the PwC Global E&U Council for many years. He has been in his role as President for the last four years. This is his second term as President, having been a member of the committee’s Board for the last 18 years.

As we rapidly approach our World Energy Leaders' Summit and Latin America Energy Forum in Bariloche, what are your expectations for both events?
The World Energy Leaders’ Summit and the Latin American Energy Forum have attracted significant interest and attention within the region. Argentina and in the Latin America region has a comparative advantage, when it comes to energy due to its extensive natural resources, the potential of renewable sources and the recently increased efforts to attain improved energy efficiency.

Key actors in the energy sector from a number of countries have registered to be in Bariloche next month. It provides a unique opportunity to discuss and explore critical issues that are affecting the industry and energy system such as decarbonisation, decentralisation, digitalisation and transparency, as well as the energy transitions we are witnessing in today`s global arena.

How do you see the Argentine member committee contributing to the Energy Transition on a global/ regional and national level?
The Argentine member committee has a respected voice in the community with regards to the Energy transition currently taking place. Through several activities CACME, as the member committee is known, serves as a thought leader in the industry. Firstly, and importantly, the Council’s WEC Academy in Buenos Aires has already trained 800 young individuals and Future Energy Leaders (FELS), who now make up the FELS Community.  Both the academy and the community have expanded throughout the Americas including the US members of the program, producing international FELS and young global Ambassadors of the Council. Since its inception in the early 1920s, CACME has been a vocal stakeholder in the energy field.

Energy prices have been a major focus for Argentina in the last year… what is the Country doing to address this issue?
Energy prices have been a continuous issue in Argentina. For many years they were subsidised by Government. This created a distortion in that the real costs of energy were not consumed by users. Investments were minimised and the infrastructure was not modernised. In the last two years action was taken to gradually work on these matters and make energy variables more realistic, moving prices in the right direction so that consumers would absorb the costs of the energy they utilise.

The Council will launch its 2018 Issues Monitor tool at CEM 9 on 23 May. Renewable energies have had a great boost in Argentina as outlined in this year’s tool. Why is that?
Renewable energy provided 2% of electric generation in Argentina last year. The recently enacted law provides that by 2025, 20% of electricity generation must come from renewable sources. This means a ten times increase.  As a result, an initiative recently took place to promote investments with creative financing arrangements that have already prompted several investors in a variety of projects to respond to government biddings calls. These projects when completed will result in significant additions to Argentina’s energy capacity, at prices that will be very competitive.

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