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Colombia launching 1 GW renewables auction – an opportunity for geothermal?

Evening view over Bogota, Colombia (source: flickr/ Tijs Zwinkels, creative commons)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 27 Jan 2019

Colombia has launched a tender process for renewable energy projects, offering 10-year power purchase agreements (PPAs). Selected projects will have to commence delivering power as from December 2022, with the total contracted power production amounting to approximately 3,443 GWh per year.

Colombia officially invites offers in a renewable energy tender, offering 10-year power purchase agreements (PPAs). Selected projects will have to commence delivering power as from December 2022, with the total contracted power production amounting to approximately 3,443 GWh per year, the Colombian government said in a statement, published locally.

The public and international auction process is already underway. Meanwhile, other alternatives arise at the national level to direct the development of enterprises and ensure equity in the renewable energy sector.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy of the Republic of Colombia ratifies a clear intention to incorporate more generation plants from renewable sources. This week, Minister María Fernanda Suárez officially announced the objectives that her government will pursue.

“In Colombia, the renewable agenda is absolutely fundamental, President Duque has set a goal of at least introducing 1,500 MW of renewable energy. This means that by 2022 we will have close to 10% of the entire energy matrix in new renewables. Colombia already has 70% renewable energy through hydroelectric plants and we are going to achieve an even cleaner matrix because we are going to introduce solar and wind technology, “confirmed the minister.

“Our challenge for the next four years lies in what we have called ‘produce conserving, conserving production’, that is, increasing the generation of energy without losing sight of sustainability. The environment is an asset that we must protect to guarantee the future with which we dream, its care is one of the main axes of development for the country, ” she added.

In tune with that, before and after her participation in the IRENA Assembly in Abu Dhabi, the minister met with the iNNpulsa Colombia team, a platform for the development of enterprises.

“Today, iNNpulsa and the Ministry of Mines and Energy are working on creating a new way of working that will bring to Colombians a way in which the public sector designs solutions to develop ventures, achieve equity and that renewable energies are a reality, “the minister announced.

While the challenge of incorporating variable renewable energy will be addressed from the regulation; On the other hand, innovations would be accompanied by a new initiative that will be launched soon so that citizens are also part of the transition.

“Soon with the Minister of Mines and Energy, we will present an idea that will invite Colombia to participate with innovative ideas in renewable energies,” said Ignacio Gaitán Villegas, president of iNNpulsa Colombia.

Meanwhile, the first long-term energy auction process is already underway. The list of specific Terms and Conditions is already published (see detail), while the consultation period ran out last week.

The Colombian government issued an energy plan until 2050 (Ideario Energetico 2050, pdf), which also highlights the role it sees for geothermal energy in the country.

“In the most pessimistic scenario, it sees the addition of 474 MW of wind energy, the possibility install 143
MW of solar energy, 275 MW of geothermal energy and 314 MW of cogeneration with biomass.

In terms of the marginal cost of the system, the addition of these renewable energy sources would allow a reduction close to $ 2 USD / MWh compared to the base scenario …, in which the expansion is done by the addition of coal plants.”

It will have to be seen if the conditions for the tender actually are favourable and geothermal projects will be proposed. With a timeframe of start of operations by 2022, it is a short period for any potential geothermal project.

Source: Energía Estratégica