Wind energy in Colombia: La Guajira wind potential is 18 GW By José Santamarta

The Colombian region of La Guajira has the potential for wind power generation of 18 GW, according to a World Bank report. "The one region of South America with winds of similar intensity is the Patagonia of Chile and Argentina," the report adds.

Colombia has only a wind turbines generating capacity of 20 MW in a wind farm of the company Jepirachi EPM.

Isagen company will build another wind farm in La Guajira. Wind energy, however, still can not compete with the country’s hydroelectric generation (80%) or with thermal capacity backup, including the financing of carbon credits.

According to the report, the wind regime in Colombia has been ranked among the best in South America. Coastal regions of the northern part of the country have been classified as class seven winds (winds over nine meters per second (m / s) at a height of 50 meters).

But Colombia only has an installed capacity of 19.5 MW of wind energy (Jepirachi wind farm with 15 wind turbines inaugurated in 2003 and built with World Bank support), with some other wind farms projects under consideration, including a wind farm Ipapure 200 MW.

"The CO2 revenue bonds do not change its place in the list of expansion of capacity at minimum cost," says the report. "Even with a $ 50 price of the bonds of CO2, wind power is still not the least cost option."

The reduction in investment costs of wind power projects could change this scenario in the short term, the bank said. "The wind energy generation seems to be available when its contribution to the national grid is most needed, ie during periods of drought and, to some extent, in the early hours of the night, when demand reaches its highest level."

While the Bank report concluded that under the wind conditions is not an option technological competitive in Colombia, says the government also has a wide range of policies to promote renewable energy technologies. In particular, to promote wind resources, the government should strengthen the evaluation data from the wind as a public service, improve access to research and technology developments and upgrade access to the network of wind energy.

By José Santamarta,