Colombia turns to gas, coal amid hydro decline

Bnamericas Published: Friday, March 10, 2023
Colombia turns to gas, coal amid hydro decline

Colombian power generation from fossil fuel-fired sources rose more than 40% in February as lower rainfall reduced output from hydroelectric plants, new figures show. 

Power plants fueled by coal, fuel oil and natural gas generated 42.5GWh/d last month compared to 30.3GWh/d in January, according to data published by grid operator and wholesale market administrator XM

Coal-fired generation jumped 74% to 19.4GWh/d, while plants that use locally produced gas reported a 14% increase to 21.7GWh/d. 


Meanwhile, electricity produced from imported liquefied natural gas hit 1.09GWh/d, up from zero the previous the month. 

The higher thermoelectric generation coincided with falling hydropower contributions as seasonal dry weather reduced dam levels.

Hydroelectric output for the month dipped to 172GWh/d from 181GWh/d in January. 



“During the month of February, the system's [water] reserves stood at 59.5% of useable volumes,” XM national dispatch manager Jaime Zapata said in a statement. 

"Although there was a reduction of 12 [percentage] points compared to the previous month, it is a normal decrease for the current summer season, which is estimated to continue this month of March."

Zapata added that Colombia's robust network of backup thermoelectric plants meant there would be no risk to energy supply.



In addition to fossil fuels, there was also a considerable increase in non-conventional renewable energy generation in February. 

Wind power output rose 15% to 772MWh/d while solar power contributed 2,429MWh/d, up 14% compared to the previous month. 

XM said electricity exports to Ecuador fell to 204GWh from 302GWh in February while imports climbed from zero to 38MWh. 

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