The emergency in the Hidroituango project created a gap in the energy supply for the medium term, since this plant will take longer than expected to start operations. The Colombian Association of Electric Power Generators (Acolgen) said that the government is working on alternatives to replace this lack of energy in the coming years.
According to El Colombiano, Acolgen said the government is preparing an auction of unconventional renewable energies (solar and wind) and an expansion auction for the electricity sector.
Ángela Montoya, President of Acolgen, said these auctions are the government’s main strategy to supply the energy that EPM will not deliver as a result of the Hidroituango crisis.
The Hidroituango crisis will generate an estimated energy deficit of 2,400 megawatts (MW) in the coming years, but the government is optimistic with these auctions to fill this gap.
Jaime Alejandro Zapata, Manager of the National Dispatch Center XM, said that the energy demand is 10,000MW in Colombia, and the country has an effective production capacity of 16,833MW, allowing to meet this demand without problems at present.
“The National Interconnected System (SIN) can cover the energy demand as long as there are no more problems in other plants in the country, such as the Guatapé hydroelectric plant that generates about 560MW,” pointed out Zapata.
Alejandro Castañeda, Executive Director of the National Association of Generating Companies (Andeg), commented that projects registered in the Mining and Energy Planning Unit (UPME) could contribute up to 5,000MW to the SIN. He explained that the capacity of unconventional renewable energy projects is small compared to other energy sources.
“In the case of the unconventional ones, it is very small. For example, a solar panel with installed capacity of 100MW would deliver power of just 13MW, while the wind projects 25MW. A thermal can give you 90MW and hydraulics plants 50MW, “said Castañeda.
Camilo Marulanda, Manager of Isagen, said that the country could face a new El Niño phenomenon later this year, but this would be a light one.
However, he highlighted that the water damming level in Colombia is historically high, which generates confidence to avoid any problem in the energy supply.
Bottom-Line: Montoya says the supply is guaranteed with unconventional renewable energy auctions, but Castañeda explains that the generation capacity of these sources is small. Will these actions be enough to deal with emergencies such as El Niño?
Hidroituango will be key to guarantee the energy supply in the long term, but the country must look for new generation alternatives with capacity to face emergencies, while this important project starts operations.