Next March, the Ministry of Mines and Energy will publish the roadmap that Colombia must follow to make offshore wind power generation a reality in the medium term. To date, Danish companies such as Orsted and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners have expressed interest in developing this type of project in the country.
The Minister of Mines and Energy, Diego Mesa, assured that thanks to the construction of wind projects in the sea, it will be possible to take better advantage of the speed of the wind and Colombia, especially in the Caribbean region, has great potential for this type of energy.
In particular, the Caribbean region has a total potential of approximately 109 gigawatts of offshore wind power, but when environmental, social and other constraints are taken into account, the potential that can be developed is reduced to approximately 50 gigawatts, which is about three times the current installed capacity of Colombia (17.7 GW).
Furthermore, the draft roadmap reveals that the amount of electricity the projects could produce, relative to their full theoretical potential, particularly in eastern La Guajira, is approaching 70% and are among the highest in the world. world. This department is also key for the development of wind projects on land, since the wind speed in this area is double the world average.
“The cost of offshore wind power is also falling, and the significant benefits of large-scale deployment in mature markets such as Northern Europe are now being felt around the world. The wind resource and infrastructure in Colombia show all the right signs for a scaled offshore wind market to reach competitive costs relatively quickly”, mentions the document, which will be in consultation until February 25, 2022.
In a low scenario, Colombia could have 200 MW of offshore wind power by 2030; 500 MW by 2040; and 1.5 GW by 2050, since by developing modest projects it will not be necessary to make major improvements in expansion transmission. In addition, they should be built near the cargo centers of Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta.
In a high scenario, one gigawatt of offshore wind power is projected by 2030, three gigawatts by 2040 and nine gigawatts by 2050, but new transmission capacity will need to be built, as one of the most challenging constraints to deploying commercial-scale offshore wind power in Colombia is the limited availability of high-voltage transmission capacity near areas where it has the greatest potential, such as La Guajira and Magdalena.
This roadmap was carried out in partnership with the World Bank, which financed the consultants and will provide the country with detailed information on the areas in Colombian waters suitable for the development of this type of project, possible costs and economic benefits, responsible agencies and permit procedures, regulatory or policy changes, so that Colombia can exploit its potential commercially.
What should Colombia improve?
The roadmap also provides Colombia with 34 initial recommendations for the country to develop a successful offshore wind industry. These recommendations are addressed to entities in the energy sector such as Upme, Dimar, Anla, Creg, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and, of course, the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
For example, it is recommended to set offshore wind energy vision and capacity targets towards 2030; identify priority areas for the commercial deployment of offshore wind energy and publish the general Terms of Reference (ToR) for the development of environmental and social impact studies for this type of project.
Additionally, the Upme must carry out the generation planning to provide the volumes and the indicative calendar, in relation to the offshore wind capacity. Likewise, it must formulate indicative plans for the expansion of the network in accordance with the vision and capacity objectives announced for this type of energy in the country.
Grid connection applications will become an integral part of the authorization process for offshore wind projects, which will also help prevent speculation.