Enel Green Power is developing wind, solar and small hydro in Colombia, one of Latin America’s most densely populated and fastest developing countries and one that still lacks both universal access to electricity and a energy system reform
Colombia is the third most heavily populated country in Latin America with 47 million inhabitants, and the third fastest growing, with a 4.8 percent increase in GDP between 2010 and 2013. It’s also a country experiencing a continuous evolution of its energy system, that has an urgent need of investment to improve electricity access and huge renewable energy potential. The Latin American nation was at the centre of a workshop that was held in Milan on 25 November and promoted by AGICI, a research and consulting firm that specialises in utilities and infrastructure and the International Observatory of Industry and Finance of the Renewable sector (OIR), and had the the support of Enel Green Power.
With an unbalanced energy mix due to the prevalence of hydropower, which accounts for 68 percent of the domestic generation, and a high exposure to long-term climate cycles (such as El Niño) with droughts or abundant rainfall, Colombia needs to reform its energy system if it wants to support economic growth and provide electricity to the more than one million inhabitants who still lack access to it without having to depend on large hydropower plants and overcome the subsidised development of coal and oil.
Colombia is included in Enel Green Power’s 2018 development plan and the workshop saw EGP’s Head for Latin America Maurizio Bezzeccheri showcase the company’s experience and vision that combines renewable energy growth, sustainable development and cooperation with local communities for access to electricity, as well as the support of rural economies in line with the Creating Shared Value model.
The potential of wind, solar and small hydropower makes Colombia one of the most important countries for the development of green energy in Latin America. Its evolving regulatory system, which is heading towards stability but still presents a number of barriers that hinder the integration of renewable energy, offers prospects both for development and long-term investment.
Thanks to its partnership with the Barefoot College, EGP has already implemented a rural electrification project in the country’s La Guajira area, which is one of the most important areas for the development of wind and solar power due to its strong winds and high levels of solar radiation.