The cogeneration mills contributed with 30% of the energy consumed in the country during the 2020/21 harvest, reaching peaks in some days that reached up to 46%. This was announced by the Association of Independent Cogenerators of Guatemala -ACI-, in the presentation of the results of electricity generation.
Luis Ortiz, Executive Director of ACI, explained that during the 2020/21 Zafra, the cogeneration plants generated 1,844 (GWh) gigawatt-hours of renewable energy to deliver to the grid; the equivalent of 2 times the consumption of all the Municipal Electric Companies of Guatemala for 1 year or to all the energy consumed by the more than 1.1 million users during a year.
The maximum available power of the Cogeneration Plants to deliver to the grid during the Zafra was 562 (MW) megawatts, which is equivalent to 2 times the maximum capacity of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam, the plant with the highest electricity generation capacity in Guatemala. For this, more than 6.4 million tons of cane biomass, a product of the sugar production process, were used.
The electricity production of the Cogenerators is fundamental for the Guatemalan electricity system because it contributes to the diversification of the energy matrix and to the stability of the electricity tariff. The electricity produced by the Sugar Industry is renewable, cheap and complements during the dry season, which is when the capacity of the hydroelectric plants is reduced because there is less water availability.
The Guatemalan Sugar Industry has an installed generation capacity of 1020 MW, this makes them self-sufficient in the energy field since they generate their own energy and the surplus is sold to the National Interconnected System (SNI). 63% of the energy produced during the 2020/21 harvest was injected into the SNI to meet national demand and exports to Central America and Mexico; and the remaining 37% was used for the operation of the sugar mills.
With this generation of renewable energy, up to 4 million tons of CO2eq are prevented from reaching the environment each year, according to a study by the Guatemalan Sugar Carbon Footprint, carried out by the Private Institute for Climate Change Research of Guatemala -ICC-.
ACI was founded in 1997. It is made up of 8 cogeneration plants, which use one of the by-products of sugar production, the biomass of sugar cane, for the production of 100% renewable energy.