In 2022, El Salvador's low-carbon electricity generation surpassed its fossil-based production. The country generated over 5.5 TWh of low-carbon energy, split between hydropower, solar, and geothermal generation. Hydropower led the pack with 2.4 TWh, closely followed by geothermal at 1.6 TWh and solar at 1.1 TWh. Fossil fuel-based energy accounted for just over 2 TWh, the majority of this being gas. The country's per capita electricity consumption, therefore, is significantly below the global average of 410 watts per person, reflecting an overarching dependence on traditional energy sources. The sparse electricity generation may result in frequent power cut-offs, hampering crucial public services and impeding economic progress.
El Salvador could notably benefit from ramping up its low-carbon electricity generation, focusing on solar energy due to its substantial generation potential. Looking at other nations, one brilliant example is the People's Republic of China, which has successfully harnessed solar energy to generate more than 530 TWh. Another comparable model is Brazil, which has efficiently used wind power to generate 94 TWh. Since El Salvador already has a substantial basis of solar electricity, it makes perfect sense to expand this strategy, taking inspirations from these nations.
When considering historical patterns, El Salvador's dependence on hydropower has persistently oscillated since the late 20th century, with incidental fluctuations in generation. The 1980s saw minor upticks in hydroelectric production, but there were also moments of stagnation and even decline. After a dip around the turn of the century in 2000, the situation improved progressively in the subsequent years, with significant boosts in 2010 and 2020. Another step forward in El Salvador's green journey was the introduction of solar energy in 2020, marking a key shift towards diversifying its low-carbon electricity portfolio.