pv magazine publisher Eckhart Gouras spoke to Carolina Obando, regulatory coordinator at renewable energy association SER Colombia, to discuss the country’s first renewable energy auction. The delayed tender promises to boost a solar industry with a 4.3 GW pipeline.
Already postponed from June to September 30, the procurement will now be held by the end of October. The exercise will be open to new renewables projects with more than 5 MW of generation capacity. Selected developers will be awarded 15-year energy deals rather than the 12-year arrangements offered in February’s abortive attempt.
In the first five months of the year, 16 solar projects with generation capacities larger than 99 MW were approved by the Colombian authorities. One of the projects may reach a 700 MW capacity, another has 240 MW and five more can generate up to 200 MW as around 3.55 GW of PV capacity has been added to the national pipeline.
The capacity comes from two solar parks and five wind power plants awarded firm energy obligations for 2022-2023. The Reliability Charge auctions were created by the Colombian government to ensure power supply during water shortages.
The Colombian authorities said the received offers did not comply with the criteria for competition and market dominance. Enel Green Power, Canadian Solar, Trina Solar and Solarpack were among the developers that were admitted to the auction’s final phase.
Some 22 projects were admitted to participate – 17 of them solar – in the country’s first RE procurement exercise, which will be held on February 26.
Colombia is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. According to data from the Colombia’s National Mining and Energy Planning Unit, UPME and the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), hydro potential is estimated at 56 GW countrywide, while solar is close to 42 GW and wind 15 GW in the Guajira region alone. Today, hydroelectric sources make up 65% of the energy mix, while wind and solar account for just 0.11% and 0.06%, respectively. As these numbers underscore, Colombia has barely scratched the surface of its renewable potential.
The project, planned for the northern department of Atlántico, will compete in the nation’s renewable energy auction next month.
Originally scheduled to be held on Jan. 2, the auction has been delayed to an unspecified date in the third quarter of next year. Colombia’s national mining and energy planning unit UPME has also postponed the publication of final bidding terms at the request of interested parties.
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