Small hydropower plants

Energy, Regulation & Policy    Jul 5, 2021 5:27 PM

The government is working on a strategy to guarantee the reliability of energy supply at local and regional level.

Authorities plan to develop 70 Small Hydroelectric Plants (SHPs) as a strategy to guarantee energy supply in the country, Portafolio reported.

The Mining and Energy Planning Unit (UPME) explained that there are 70 projects in force to develop SHPs, of which 39 are in the range of less than 10 MW of installed capacity, and 15 projects in the range of 10MW to 20MW.

“Due to its privileged location, Colombia has a high hydropower potential. These projects remain important to guarantee the provision of a reliable, continuous and quality energy service,” Vice Minister of Energy, Miguel Lotero, said.

The country registered 568 hydroelectric projects since 2007, of which 15 SHPs were scheduled in 2019, 46 in 2020; and nine for 2021.

“SHP plants are mainly characterized by providing the system with a zero-emission electricity service, given their conventional renewable status,” Acolgen’s Natalia Gutiérrez said.

The expert highlighted that SHPs will continue to be vital during the transition, as they offer a reliable, clean and flexible supply.

XM reported that it operates 11 SHPs in the country at present, which in total have an installed capacity of 1,015MW.

“The development of these plants generates economic returns to the municipalities and regions,” engineer Martín Giraldo, a SHP builder, said.

Giraldo said that the environmental licensing of SHPs must comply with environmental and sustainable investment requirements in the area of influence.

“The SHPs have had the pivotal effect for price control in tariffs, since the value of the kilowatt-hour price is below the market level,” Giraldo added.

Bottom-Line: Promoting conventional and unconventional renewable energies is a good strategy to guarantee the country’s energy supply.

Colombia has great potential in both areas, and these projects will be key to accelerate economic reactivation.

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