Colombian power project pipeline hits 16 GW, includes 3.47 GW of hydropower

Colombia’s power generation project pipeline has surpassed 16 GW as investors capitalize on rebounding electricity demand and COVID-19 vaccine developments, according to BNamericas.

Energy ministry planning unit UPME has 322 active projects in its registry with combined capacity of 16.02 GW, up from 15.86 GW at the start of December and 14.304 GW in October.

Solar accounts for 218 projects totaling 7.77 GW, followed by hydropower at 76 projects (3.47 GW), wind 20 projects (3.16 GW), thermal six projects (1.60 GW) and biomass two projects (25 MW).

Some 9.03 GW are the subject of initial feasibility studies, while 6.93 GW are in the permitting phase and 60 MW in the final development stage.

Top projects

The 1,140-MW Nencol 5 thermoelectric station in the Caribbean coastal city of Santa Marta is the biggest project in UPME’s registry, followed by the 800-MW Micay hydroelectric plant. Next is the 700-MW Sebastosol solar complex, the 648-MW La Paz hydropower dam, the 600-MW Cuestecitas solar park and the 500-MW Kappa wind complex.

Nodo Energético del Norte has the largest the largest portfolio (1,140 MW), followed by GDEL (898 MW), Sebastosol (700 MW), Universal Stream (665 MW) and Jemeiwaa Kai (648 MW).

Outlook

According to Colombian renewable energy association SER, solar and wind projects totaling 2.2 GW — which secured long-term contracts at an auction in October 2019 — remain on track to be completed by 2022 despite interruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

SER executive director Germà¡n Corredor told BNamericas that energy project developers have benefitted from a decree that mostly exempted them from lockdown measures. However, experts have warned that energy demand will not fully recover until a vaccine becomes widely available.

The Colombian government has said that it expects to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines in January or February.

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