Prior consultations affect investment

Regulation & Policy    Oct 19, 2021 10:11 PM

Andesco’s Camilo Sanchez spoke about prior consultations and the effects on investment in the renewable energy sector.

Sanchez said that 12% of renewable energy generation could be compromised or delayed due to prior consultations, La Republica reported.

“Investments in departments such as La Guajira have been delayed due to these processes. There, we have great solar and wind energy potential, like no other country, but if we do not have the consultations, the energy will be delayed and will not enter at the time it has to enter,” Sanchez said.

The expert said that this area of the country will receive an investment of up to CoP$11T in the next three years.

House representative, Mauricio Toro, said that the timing of each of the parties should be paramount for the types of agreement with the communities.

“Industry cannot replace the role of the State, the Ministry of the Interior (MinInterior) must guarantee and accompany the processes,” said Toro.

SER Colombia’s said that the consultations could generate a delay of months for the entry into operation of the projects.

Bottom-Line: Communities see the obligation to have prior consultations as a way to obtain benefits they feel they are owed by the Colombian State (which has been absent in most of the country since Columbus dropped anchor off Hispaniola). The process also encourages delay so that the government and investors become desperate. Furthermore, the negotiators normally receive – or demand – compensation for their ‘expenses’ and that makes delay lucrative as well as effective.

Changing the process would itself require prior consultation with the same actors and so no government since 1991 has dared to do this. (OK, the Duque government did draft a law but they did not attempt prior consultation of the prior consultation legislation so it died on the order paper.)

Despite this, Colombian authorities should still make efforts to improve and speed up these mechanisms, together with the environmental licensing.

The country has a great potential for renewable generation but this situation could deter investors’ interest.

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