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Electricity in Guatemala in 2021

Global Ranking: #94
66.6% #46 Low-carbon electricity
93.61 watts #154 Generation / person
307.32 gCO2eq/kWh #70 Carbon Intensity

As of 2021, the total low-carbon electricity generation in Guatemala stood at more than 9 TWh, with the largest portion being generated by hydropower at nearly 6 TWh. Production from biofuels followed closely with nearly 3 TWh, while electricity from coal and fossil fuels stood at almost 3 TWh and nearly 5 TWh respectively. With an estimated population of around 18 million, the consumption per capita is well below the global average of 410 watts/person. A lower per capita electricity consumption signals an underutilization of electrical power, which can lead to a slower growth pace in GDP and lower the standard of living. Moreover, a significant portion of the generated electricity is from fossil fuels, contributing to an increase in the country's carbon footprint.


To increase its low-carbon electricity generation, Guatemala could look towards harnessing more wind and solar power, much like several successful countries. For instance, China, with similar developing status, has generated a vast amount of electricity from wind (964 TWh) and solar energy (523 TWh) while the United States has made significant achievements with nuclear power (775 TWh). While Guatemala's geographical and climatic realities will determine the feasibility of these energies, the pursuit of a diversified energy mix comprising wind, nuclear, and solar power could be an optimal route to minimize reliance on fossil fuels and reduce environmental damage.


Looking back, Guatemala has a history fraught with shifts in hydro and biofuels electricity generation. In the late 20th century, there were consistent increases in hydroelectric power generation, particularly marked by a boost of 0.8 TWh in 1986, followed by modest gains in the 1990s. The new millennium saw a focus on biofuels, commencing with a minor contribution of 0.4 TWh in 2005. However, in the following years, the electricity generated from hydro and biofuels witnessed a fluctuating trend, with losses also being registered. There were significant increases in hydroelectric power generation in 2017 and 2020, but the last two decades of the 21st century have also seen periods of decline and stagnation. Despite these fluctuations, there has been steady progress in low-carbon electricity generation with no reliance on nuclear energy thus far.

Electricity Imports and Exports

Balance of Trade

Data Sources

For the years 1971 to 1979 the data source is World Bank.
For the year 1980 the data source is EIA.
For the years 1981 to 1985 the data source is World Bank.
For the years 1986 to 1987 the data sources are World Bank and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1988 to 1989 the data source is World Bank.
For the years 1990 to 1991 the data source is EIA.
For the years 1992 to 1993 the data sources are EIA and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1994 to 1995 the data source is IEA.
For the years 1996 to 1997 the data sources are EIA and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1998 to 1999 the data source is IEA.
For the years 2000 to 2021 the data source is Ember.
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