Venezuela is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of crude oil. Its power matrix relies on conventional sources, such as large hydro, natural gas and oil. Hydro generation represents half of its total 30.4GW of installed capacity.
State-owned Corporación Eléctrica Nacional (CORPOELEC), the sole power generation, distribution and transmission company, controls Venezuela’s electric system. It was created in 2007 from a merger of 14 regional public and private companies. The Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Energía Eléctrica (MPPEE) is in charge of formulating and implementing energy policies. After large hydro, the bulk of Venezuela’s installed capacity is oil and diesel (8GW) and natural gas (7.4GW). Renewable energy from non-conventional sources, less than 0.2% of the total capacity, is comprised of 25MW of small hydro, 50MW of wind and 2.3MW of solar.
Low hydro reservoir levels at Venezuela’s hydro plants, along with lack of investment, poor maintenance and planning have compromised the country’s power supply. Venezuela is facing its worst power crisis, forcing the government to focus mostly on power saving initiatives. In April 2016, the government set mandatory furloughs for state employees on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Additionally power cuts have been mandated for four hours daily.
Venezuela has almost 100% grid coverage, and its electricity prices are heavily subsidized. In 2014, the average retail rate was $0.02/kWh, the lowest in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2005, FUNELEC, a technical institution devoted to electric sector development, created the “Programa Sembrando Luz” to bring solar- and wind-powered electrification to the handful of rural and indigenous areas not connected to the grid. As of September 2012, the program had installed 3,139 renewable energy systems in more than 1,000 communities. In addition, there has been some development on utility-scale projects. In early 2015, a 1MW solar project in the archipelago of Los Roques was commissioned, part of a diesel-PV hybrid plant.
On 12 December 2015, the government of Venezuela submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations, committing conditionally to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% below the business as usual (BAU) scenario by 2030. This reduction is conditioned on international support.