The Guatemalan Sugar Industry takes part in the UN meeting on water, energy, biodiversity, and health

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry takes part in the UN meeting on water, energy, biodiversity, and health

This month in New York was held the event “The role of private industry in support of the SDGs in the areas of water, energy, biodiversity and health”, organized by the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua- and the Organization of United Nations.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry is part of the Network of Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions established in 2018 by the United Nations. “Asazgua is a central partner in the global network” said Mr. Minoru Takada of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs at the opening of the event.

The activity was carried out in a hybrid way (face-to-face and virtual) in two sessions on industry and biodiversity; and sustainable development and health. It was attended by 11 exhibitors and with the participation of more than 180 people from countries such as Brazil, Burundi, Guatemala, Spain, the United States, among others.

It was attended by Oliver Hillel from the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, who highlighted that the active work of economic leaders around the world is needed to reverse the loss of biodiversity.

Efforts of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry to achieve the SDGs

Efforts of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry to achieve the SDGsDuring his speeches, Alfredo Vila, president of the Latin American Sugar Producers Association -UNALA- and the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua- explained that the Guatemalan Sugar Industry has implemented systems for the efficient use of water, renewable energy, and care of the soil, and has been recognized as an international benchmark in good practices and recognized due to its work into achieving the SDGs.

Luis Miguel Paiz, CEO of Asazgua, spoke about the contributions of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals -SDGs- and during his speech he referred to the development programs promoted by the Guatemalan Sugar Industry, such as the empowerment of women, social investment, and the fortification of sugar with Vitamin “A” to prevent childhood blindness, among others.

Similarly, Alex Guerra, CEO of the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC- spoke about the work carried out by the Guatemalan Sugar Industry together with the UNDP, communities and local governments in forest restoration and protection. “The integration of efforts from different sectors is key to achieving real and impactful results,” highlighted Guerra.

Alex Guerra, CEO of the Private Institute for Climate Change Research
Alex Guerra, CEO of ICC

Another of the lecturers was the mayor of the municipality of Escuintla, Mr. Abraham Rivera, who presented the joint work with the Sugar Foundation -Fundazucar-, an example of how the Sugar Industry and the local government work together for the benefit of the people. “One of the most important alliances we have had has been with Fundazucar for the transfer and implementation of the Better Families program, a program that is generating changes in the communities and is helping us fight malnutrition,” Rivera commented.

UN Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Network

In 2018, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs created the Global Network for Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions, which is chaired by Asazgua. This global network aims to meet the sustainable development goals -ODS- number 6 (clean water and sanitation) and number 7 (ensure access to sustainable, reliable, and modern energy for all).

Asazgua is considered a key partner to contribute to the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda since it is an active member, with experiences and practical cases that are considered as an example of private sector participation, necessary for sustainable development.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry actively participates in the UN Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Network

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry actively participates in the UN Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions Network

In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda establishes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a total of 169 goals and 230 related global indicators designed to stimulate concrete actions until 2030.

In order to comply with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, in 2018 the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs created the Global Network for Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions with links between the sustainable development goals -ODS- number 6 (water and sanitation) and number 7 (Ensuring access to sustainable, reliable and modern energy for all) with multiple stakeholders from all regions including Guatemala with the participation of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua- (https://www.un.org/en/water-energy-network/page/members).

The 2030 Agenda proposes that, in order to achieve Sustainable Development, it is important not only to include the economic, social and environmental axes but to go a little further, and that is why the agenda proposes five fundamental dimensions on which to base it: people, planet, prosperity, peace and alliances. These dimensions are present in its objectives and goals, which work in an integrated and indivisible way to address the challenges in a global way and so that they can be applied universally, always with an objective vision of the different realities, capacities and levels of development of actors at the national, regional or local level, as well as at the business, academic or social level.

The Global Network for Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions, works with the vision of a world in which there is an equitable and sustainable use and management of water and energy resources for all, in support of human well-being, the integrity of ecosystems and a strong and inclusive economy under the umbrella of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The objective of the Network is to provide a global platform for all stakeholders to improve their capacities and signal their high-level commitment to the integrated approach of SDG6 and SDG7 to support the implementation of the SDGs by fulfilling the call of the Secretary General of the United Nations to mobilize at all levels, global, local, and social. For this reason, Asazgua has taken the initiative and, as always, has taken a step forward working hand in hand with the Network to share its experiences and the projects developed.

For this reason, a series of activities and publications have been carried out to create spaces for dialogue to share best practices and experiences on water-energy interrelationships and their contributions to other SDGs and reinforce capacity building, focusing on planning, the design, implementation and monitoring of policies, regulations, business models and investments to effectively manage the interlinkages between water and energy.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced us to make unforeseen changes in our lives, but it has given us the opportunity to analyze the need to improve and share knowledge and experiences, since the time to act is now, which is why the actions of the Network have not stopped and have been carried out virtually. Below, we present the main activities in which the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association has participated.

On September 24th, 2021, a side event on the “Energy Pact of the Global Network for Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions” was held in the framework of the High-Level Dialogue on Energy. This event showcased the three participating organizations of the Network with voluntary commitments: The Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association –Asazgua, – Itaipu Binacional and Canal de Isabel II, which was presented by the Under Secretary of the United Nations Mr. Liu Zhenmin. During the event, the commitments of the three institutions were presented and discussed and they explained how they support the transformative paths in energy and water and expanded actions supporting the objectives to face climate change.

Months ago, in June, the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association and the Spanish water company of the Community of Madrid, Canal de Isabel II, each undertook to expand their electricity generation to cover 100% of their electricity demand with 100% clean renewable sources by 2030.

In addition, Asazgua promised to meet at least 30% of Guatemala’s electricity demand during the three dry months of the year through renewable energy, increase ethanol production for transportation by 20%, and develop a new way of bioenergy from biowaste.

In June, the Global Network for Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions, in cooperation with its member Asazgua, brought together multiple stakeholders to discuss and showcase existing initiatives and disseminate information on bioenergy. This event was moderated by Jinlei Feng, IRENA Program Officer, and had the participation of Mr. Ivan Vera, UNDESA Advisor and a panel of experts made up of representatives of the Government of the State of Sao Paulo in Brazil, IIASA, UNICA in Brazil and Canal of Isabel II in Spain, all shared experiences on integrated water and energy solutions related to bioenergy.

Likewise, Asazgua participated in various events on sustainable water and energy solutions to address climate change during the Decade of Action. At the central event, world leaders discussed the interrelationships and interdependence of the water and energy sector and showcased existing initiatives to accelerate the adoption of integrated water and energy solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

Last November during the COP26 side event: Sustainable water and energy solutions that support climate change objectives during the Decade of Action and beyond, there was participation and presentation of the Private Institute for Climate Change Research -ICC-.

Among the results obtained is the preparation of the report on sustainable water and energy solutions to address climate change with the collaboration of Asazgua, which aims to disseminate the debate of experts and public policies on sustainable water and energy solutions that address climate change in order to facilitate the exchange of information, improve local, national and international cooperation and stimulate collaborative development actions that “leave no one behind” in terms of water supply and sanitation, access to sustainable energy and protection against possible negative impacts of climate change. https://www.un.org/en/water-energy-network/page/new-and-events

Did you know that sugar cane bagasse is a source to generate renewable energy?

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry cogenerates renewable energy

To produce sugar, the juice is the raw material and the squeezed and crushed cane, called “Bagasse” is a residue, which thanks to the research has become a source of renewable energy.

The energy generation of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry is strategic for the country since it takes place during the season of cane harvest and sugar production called Zafra and begins in November and ends in May, therefore it includes the dry season when hydroelectric plants decrease its contribution to the National Interconnected System. This helps to keep energy prices stable.

Just last year, according to data from the Association of Independent Cogenerators, the contribution of the Sugar Industry represented up to 46% of the energy used by the entire country during the Zafra season.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry cogenerates renewable energyThe sugar factories are self-sufficient, this means that they produce the energy they consume, the rest they sell to the national and regional electricity market.

Each year 7.5 million tons of bagasse are used to generate this renewable energy. The Guatemalan Sugar Industry has an installed capacity of 1,020 MW for generation.

In addition, with the renewable energy produced by the Sugar Industry, more than 4 million CO2 is prevented from reaching the atmosphere each year.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry ends the 2020/2021 Zafra, driven by a Guatemalan sugarcane variety

End of zafra 2020-2021 in Guatemala

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry ended the suar cane harvest and sugar production season driven by the CG02-163 sugarcane variety developed by scientists from the Guatemalan Center for Research and Training in Sugar Cane -Cengicaña-; this is a high-yield cane, resistant to diseases and adapted to climate variability.

The CG02-163 sugarcane variety leads the Guatemalan Sugar IndustryThe CG02-163 sugarcane variety, currently occupying the largest planted area in the country, has a yield ranging from 11.5 to 12.5 tons of sugar per cultivated hectare. This variety produces an average of 1.4 tons more per hectare than the second-place variety CP72-2086, which comes from Canal Point in Florida, United States.

This contributed to the production for the 2020/2021 harvest being 55,758,979 quintals of sugar or 2,564,901 metric tons of sugar, with a cultivated area of 253 thousand hectares. This harvest was challenging due to the conditions presented by the pandemic and all the biosanitary measures were taken for the prevention of COVID-19, both in the workplace and in the communities of the South of Guatemala.

“Research and development is a fundamental pillar for the Sugar Industry, it has contributed to improve efficiency each harvest and has allowed us to be more competitive worldwide. The development of cane varieties is one of the great contributions of the research center, until this year we have developed, through the natural crossing of plants, 33 Guatemalan cane varieties that are more productive, resistant to pests and climate change”, commented Luis Miguel Paiz, general manager of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua-.

Renewable energy cogeneration

As part of the research, sugarcane residues are also used to produce alcohol and the generation of renewable energy and during the 2020/2021 harvest, cogeneration mills contributed with 30% of the energy consumed in the country, reaching peaks in some days that reached 46%.

Renewable energy produce with sugarcane biomassIn that period, the Sugar Industry 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.

Zafra is development for Guatemala

The zafra begins in November and ends in May of the following year and, for the South of Guatemala, it is a season of economic reactivation since it generates more than 54 thousand direct jobs and the hiring of more than 6,325 suppliers, large, medium and small of products and services, who also become employers and multiply opportunities for the local population. The sugar sector generates more than 270 thousand indirect jobs each year.

Production of Guatemalan SugarThe sugar mills associated with Asazgua operate under a strict labor and environmental policy and distribute each year around US$402 million in wages and salaries, in addition to providing complementary health services to their collaborators. In a study prepared by Asazgua, the economic footprint or spill of sugar in Guatemala is more than US$ 1,188 million and reaches 90% of the country’s municipalities.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry contributed with 30% of the electrical energy consumed in the country during the 2020-21 Zafra

biomass

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.

CogenerationThe 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.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry increased by 8.6% the generation of renewable energy

Renewable energy from sugarcane bagasse

During the 2019/20 zafra, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry generated 1,991 gigawatts (GWh) of renewable energy; 8.6% more than what was generated during the previous season 2018-19, when 1,834 GWh were generated.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry uses the bagasse or biomass from crushed sugar cane, one of the residues from sugar production, for the production of renewable energy during the zafra season, thereby contributing to the diversification of the energy matrix and to the stability of the electricity rate in the Central American country.

The harvest and sugar production season known as Zafra in Guatemala runs from November to May of the following year and each year more than 7.5 million tons of cane bagasse are reused, resulting from the sugar production process, for the generation of renewable energy. This makes the Guatemalan Sugar Industry self-sufficient in the energy field since they generate their own energy, and the surplus is sold to the National Interconnected System.

This generation of renewable energy prevents 4 million tons of CO2 from reaching the environment each year, according to research by the Private Institute for Climate Change Research of Guatemala -ICC-, a technical institution in charge of advising the sugar sector on environmental matters.