The United Kingdom and the IDB support the entry of renewable energy in Colombia

The United Kingdom and the IDB support the entry of renewable energy in Colombia

In mid-2019, the Sustainable Infrastructure Program of the United Kingdom UK SIP (for its acronym in English) began a technical cooperation agreement with the IDB with the purpose of promoting the integration of non-conventional renewable energies into the Colombian energy matrix. This cooperation made it possible to carry out studies to characterize the wind resource and identify the possibility of connecting additional generation capacity in the department of La Guajira and to support the structuring of the first non-conventional renewable energy auction in Colombia, among other studies.

Subsequently, the Colombian Government held the first renewable energy auction in October 2019, which constituted a great energy milestone for Colombia, multiplying 40 times the electricity generation capacity from sources such as solar and wind. As a result of this mechanism, eight projects were initially awarded, 5 of them wind and 3 solar, to achieve a generation of 1,298 megawatts (MW). With this entry, plus the renewable projects assigned in the auction of the Reliability Charge, the national Government manages to far exceed the goal established in the National Development Plan 2018-2022 that 10% of the country’s energy is produced from from renewable sources such as wind and solar.

The wind farm of Guajira 1 of ISAGEN, after almost 3 years of work and paperwork, it was inaugurated on January 21, 2022 and is the first wind farm built in the last 17 years at the national level. The constant work of social management led by ISAGEN to dialogue and agree with the Wayuu indigenous communities on the approval, execution and compensation of the project, complying with the prior consultations stipulated in Colombian law, should be highlighted.

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The project had an investment of 75,000 million pesos, with a capacity of 20 MW, which is equivalent to the consumption of more than 33,000 families. Guajira 1 has 10 2MW wind turbines that will reduce 136 tons of COtwo in its operating stage. Additionally, an adjoining expansion is being built, which will have 4 wind turbines of 3.45MW generating an additional 13.8 MW. Guajira 1 is the first of 16 wind farms that will be located in La Guajira and it is projected that the operational phase will begin during the second quarter of this year.

For the UK Department of International Trade, this project opens the door to trade between the two nations. For British companies and investors in the renewable energy sector, the progress Colombia is making in this area positions it as an interesting market for exploring opportunities, exchanging experiences, technologies, products and services.

Additionally, with the resources of this cooperation, it was possible to determine the complementarity of the wind resource in the north of Colombia that will allow the development of new wind projects in the country. Likewise, methodological options are being evaluated to efficiently connect the capacity generated by these new projects with the current national energy network.

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Colin Martin-Reynolds, the British Ambassador to Colombia, accompanied by his team, a delegation from the IDB led by Alexandra Planas, lead energy specialist, the Vice Minister of Energy, Miguel Lotero, and the Director General of the Institute for Planning and Promotion of Energy Solutions for Non-Interconnected Areas (IPSE), José David Insuasti, paid this year a visit to two projects benefiting from climate cooperation with UK SIP funds: solar energy in the Yutaho community of Maicao and the Guajira 1 project.

The United Kingdom and the IDB support the entry of renewable energy in Colombia

The British Government and the IDB have also been supporting the development of projects based on non-conventional energy sources in Non-Interconnected Zones through their technical assistance with which they have developed, among others, studies related to innovative models that promote the private participation and with sustainability models that ensure that these isolated solutions have long-term operation and maintenance mechanisms. This is the case of energy from the solar energy project for the community of Yutaho in Maicao in La Guajira. This community did not have electricity service and with the work led by IPSE, it now has a continuous, clean and affordable service.[1] paid through a prepaid method which will improve the quality of life of its inhabitants. The project had an investment of COP$3.2 billion by the national government, benefiting 69 families, and its construction ended on December 30, 2021.

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Likewise, in 2021 the Energy Transformation Mission was carried out, which was accompanied by a delegation of British experts under the modality of skill-shares of the Partnerships for Accelerated Climate Transitions program UK PACT (For its acronym in English) and financing from the IDB and UKSIP. The Mission left several recommendations both for the large-scale incorporation of non-conventional renewables and for rural electrification that are being adopted by the Government of Colombia.

Both the IDB and UK SIP will continue to be allies of the National Government so that the energy transition continues to be one through a new agreement that seeks to support and provide technical assistance to Colombia to achieve economic growth that moves towards carbon neutrality.

[1] 24-hour service that is 84% ​​subsidized by the National Government and that was awarded to the Dispac and Suncol contractor.

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