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Integral, a Colombian consultancy which develops integral engineering solutions, is looking into hydro and renewable energy projects. Manuel Correa Sossa, project evaluation and energy planning director at Integral, has worked extensively in the hydroelectric sector. He sat down with BNamericas to share his thoughts on what the company expects for 2015.
BNamericas: Is the renewable energy sector growing in Colombia?
Correa: Yes, the renewable energy sector, especially hydro, is very active [in Colombia] – and this is the case despite environmental and regulatory issues. But it clearly has the potential to develop further. There are the large companies, such Isagen, EPM, Celsia, Emgesa, as well as smaller businesses which are very active in the small hydro segment. They all have their hopes up as a result of the creation of a new renewable energy law.
BNamericas: Is Integral interested in developing wind power projects?
Correa: The expansion of the sector has been rather slow, but it is moving ahead. Integral is clearly interested in participating in the sector. But is still needs to grow further. I would say it's four to five years behind or, to put it in other terms, 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. In addition, regulations regarding reliable power delivery and payments for electricity both generated and sold have yet to be clearly established.
BNamericas: Integral has various hydroelectric projects in Colombia. Which ones are you currently carrying out?
Correa: We're actively involved in the construction and engineering consultancy phase of the 2,400MW Ituango hydro project, our largest project in the country. We're also currently carrying out studies for small hydro plants for local clients. In all, we're involved in five to ten hydroelectric projects at various stages of development.
BNamericas: What is Integral's outlook for the Colombian electric power market in 2015?
Correa: We're optimistic about developments in 2015. We believe that the market will continue to grow. We also see signs that environmental and regulatory requirements could be relaxed. Next year might very well be a dynamic year, as various projects presently on hold could get underway. All in all, there are no reasons to believe that next year won't be a dynamic year.
About Manuel Correa Sossa
Manuel Correa Sosa is director of project evaluation and energy planning at Colombian consultancy Integral. He is based in capital Bogotá.
About the company
Integral is a Colombian engineering consultancy with over 50 years of experience.