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Governments call to phase out inefficient lighting in Latin America and the Caribbean

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, August 2011 –The first ever regional meeting of the en.lighten iniative was conducted for Latin American and Caribbean countries on August 4th in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in conjunction with the 2011 Latin American and Caribbean Energy Efficiency Seminar by Organización Latinoamericana de la Energía (OLADE). 


en.lighten is an initiative funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), in partnership with the United Nations Enviornment Programme (UNEP) and leading global lighting manufacturers (Philips and OSRAM), to accelerate market transformation of efficient lighting technologies on a global scale. It aims to restrict the global supply of inefficient light bulbs and promote market adoption of most efficient alternatives by way of an “integrated approach” including: harmonized energy performance standards (MEPS); monitoring, verification and enforcement (MVE) schemes; establishing focused waste management efforts; and comprehensive communications, policy, finance and technical support.


At the meeting, UNEP and partner regional organizations addressed key regional stakeholders and explored opportunities for governments to formally participate in a globally coordinated effort to transition to efficient lighting as a key efficiency and climate mitigation measure. The emphasis was on the phase-out of general purpose incandescent light bulbs, the most common type for consumers. 


Energy efficiency officials and climate change focal points from 26 countries participated in the event including; representatives from the Ministries of Energy, Environment, national utilities, manufacturing, international organizations and NGOs.  Bernard Jamet, Head of the UNEP Technology Transfer Unit, opened the session by introducing the en.lighten program and its role within ongoing climate change negotiations.  “en.lighten’s ultimate success will be gauged by the number of countries that commit to its goal of phasing-out inefficient lighting,” said Jamet.


Country Lighting Assessments were presented for 20 countries in the region and the results showed that if incandescent lamps were substituted with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), 4% of total electricity consumption would be saved which translates into $4 billion US per year of savings in consumer energy bills, and the equivalent carbon emissions of 4 million cars.  Eight large power plants (500 MW) could be closed in the region as a result of the transition and avoided generated capacity would amount to billions of dollars. The regional average amortization period is only one year.


Representatives from the Energy and Environment Ministries of several countries made presentations on their successful domestic efforts to phase-out incandescent bulbs including; Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador and Cuba.


All government officials at the meeting agreed in the “Santo Domingo Declaration” that the phase out of incandescent lamps is one of the easiest ways to reduce CO2 emissions and achieve

significant energy and financial savings. They encouraged their Ministers to consider phasing out general service incandescent lamps from their countries and moving to more efficient lighting products. 


The governments of Uruguay and the Dominican Republic have become the first two in the region to join the en.lighten partnership. Other countries in the region are expected to formalize their participation in the very near future.


On behalf of the Dominican Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Rafael Almonte asked for the commitment of officials in the region expressed in the “Santo Domingo Declaration” to be formalized at the upcoming UN Rio +20 meeting in June 2012, as a major political signal to make a greener global economy a reality.


UNEP has created a Center of Excellence on Efficient Lighting to assist countries that partner with the en.lighten initiative to develop national efficient lighting strategies. A high level event will take place at Rio +20, where partner countries will be publicly recognized for their efforts to move to low carbon economies and reap the benefits of efficient lighting


The Comisión Nacional de Energia (CNE) Minister, Enrique Ramirez, closed the conference by announcing that the Dominican Republic’s Presidential Palace has committed to remove all of their incandescent lamps and replace them with LEDs.  CNE will lead the way in demonstrating the government’s commitment to efficiency and to act as an example for the private sector and consumers.  He also advocated that all Energy Ministers in Latin America and the Caribbean join the en.lighten partnership and adopt the “Santo Domingo Declaration” to achieve the phase-out of incandescent lamps in Latin America and Caribbean countries before the end of 2015.