Electricity coverage: challenges

Electricity, Energy, Regulation & Policy    Sep 18, 2019 3:36 PM

Although energy coverage in Colombia is high, there is still a large number of households that lack this service. What can the government do to improve the situation?

The energy service coverage in Colombia reaches 97.2%, meaning that there are still 431,137 households that lack this service; 223,688 in inter-connected areas, and 207,449 in Non-Interconnected Zones (ZNI), El Colombiano said.

As established in the 2018-2022 National Development Plan (PND), and according to government estimates, authorities still need to invest of CoP$5T to reach the goal of bringing energy service to all Colombians.

The National Planning Department (DNP) recalled that the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MinEnergia) has the financial support of the Fund for Energy in Interconnected Rural Areas (FAER), and of the Fund for Energy in Non-Interconnected Areas (FAZNI).

However, one of the entity’s challenges is to redirect the resources to expand the energy coverage in the country, taking into account the particular needs of each region, especially among indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.

“Current projections show us that we will achieve 100% coverage in 2030,” MinEnergia Suarez said.

However, for Pablo Corredor, manager of the PHC consulting firm, part of the challenge is to analyze possible options to reach the government’s goal, such as the installation of solar panels or hybrid alternatives, to leverage of the combination of solar energy and gas.

“This business model is sustainable; a key feature to assure a long-lasting energy access for communities,” he explained.

Corredor added that with Colombia’s context, in which each region has its particular challenges, it is not possible to provide a unique solution to every problem, so authorities need to go for the most efficient one.

Bottom-line: Following its environmental goals, the government not only has to achieve a 100% of its energy coverage goals, but has to do it in a sustainable way.

Wind and solar energy potential in regions like La Guajira will play a major role in achieving MinEnergia’s goals, but the entity will need to first deal with deep social problems in the region…

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