Experts spoke about the vulnerability of the electrical system in Colombia.
Amylkar Acosta, former Minister of Mines and Energy told La Republica that the country has a vulnerability in its dependence on hydrogeneration.
He said that this vulnerability is due to the situation of EPM and the failures of the Inspector General. This despite the fact that the system has a capacity of 17.5GW and demand at its highest peak does not exceed 11GW.
Acosta said that hydroelectric generation is one of the greatest strengths of the energy matrix, but, likewise, it is also its Achilles heel.
“That is where Hidroituango is a strategic project for the country, and its delay has stressed the country’s energy market and put upward pressure on prices,” Acosta explained.
He recalled that the failure of the 2019 auction generated an additional burden on the system. Acosta added that the problems in transportation infrastructure adds to the delays in wind and solar energy projects.
“We are not facing a blackout, but we are facing a risk and that manifests itself in uncertainty, which is reflected in market prices that are 25% above the price of two years ago,” Acosta said.
The expert said that the country will need more energy to achieve the expected growth of the economy.
Acosta said that one challenge is to face an increase in demand due to the reactivation of the economy and an expected increase due to the reconversion of the industry as it becomes energized.
Asoenergía’s Sandra Fonseca said that the association is confident that EPM will finish the project safely as soon as possible, but there is high uncertainty.
“In the analyses we have done, there is a low probability that there will be rationing in the short term (2023), but we could not rule out that changes in system conditions may occur. We are in a state of alert because if conditions are not maintained, we would be at risk,” Fonseca said.
Fonseca said that Hidroituango is not the solution to all shortage concerns.
“For there to be no shortages, it depends not only on Hidroituango, but also on other projects not being delayed to achieve balance and others being advanced. We need that it rains enough, that the interconnection with Ecuador is optimal and that demand can react,” Fonseca said.
Bottom-Line: Colombia started a process of diversification of its energy matrix, but this process has not advanced at the expected pace.
The government has made a great effort to promote new energy sources, but no progress has been made in key procedures such as prior consultations and environmental licensing. Working on these issues will be fundamental to see new projects developed.