A new outlook for Colombia's renewable energy sector?

Friday, January 2, 2015

After years of prioritizing fossil fuels, Colombia looks set to embrace the renewable energy sector.

In an interview with BNamericas, local consultancy Integral said the renewables industry would be led by small hydropower plants, despite regulatory obstacles.

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"The renewable energy sector, especially hydro, is very active [in Colombia]," Integral director Manuel Correa Sossa said.

"This is the case despite environmental and regulatory issues. But it clearly has the potential to develop further. There are large companies, such Isagen, EPM, Celsia, Emgesa, as well as smaller businesses which are very active in the segment."

Among developers facing difficulties is Isagén, which has faced community opposition to the 820MW Sogamoso plant in Santander department

Integral, which is involved in the 2.4GW Ituango plant in Antioquia department, is considering a foray into the wind sector.

"[We are] clearly interested in participating in the sector," Correa said. "But it still needs to grow further. I would say it still needs another four to five years to become competitive.

"Certain hurdles still need to be overcome, such as the issue of transmission. La Guajira department in the north of the country has enormous wind potential, but lacks infrastructure," Correa said.