A new one will be held on August 16 Reliability Charge auction to ensure the energy that is needed to cover the consumption of Colombians between 2027 and 2028 and thus avoid rationing that could cost the country 1.32 trillion pesos.

The country wants to «get healthy» in case several risks that are being perceived materialize, such as the non-commissioning of the two Hidroituango units that are expected for this year and a increase in energy demand greater than current projectionssince consumption has been growing three times more than the generation park.

(Also read: El Niño phenomenon will not cause energy rationing, but it will raise rates)

This will be the second auction of this type to be held in the country in four years. The previous one was in February 2019 and 69 plants achieved Obligations of Firm Energy (OEF) assignments. Of this total, 45 were already in operation for some time, seven were in the construction process and 17 were new projects that are expected to be built.

However, the list of new projects was reduced to 10 because seven lost their firm energy, that is, they «died» before starting because they did not put the guarantees that supported the OEF. These are the Termosolo 1 and 2, Termocaribe 1 and Maestría thermal plants. The same happened with the Tumawind and Chemesky wind farms and the Miel II hydroelectric plant.

Added to this balance is the fact that of the 16 new and under-construction projects that did «survive», To date, only nine have entered into operation.and the first term to do so expired on December 1, 2022.

However, the regulation gives one year of grace to the projects that are delayed to start operating, without the guarantees being executed or losing the OEF exhibition and the remuneration associated with it, as long as answer for the energy that they had promised to deliver.

XM data indicates that the new thermoelectric plants that are already generating power are Termovalle, Termoyopal (units three, four and five), El Tesorito, TermoEBR and Termoproyectos. In addition to the Escuela de Minas hydroelectric plant and the first two units of Hidroituango.

These projects total 1,064 megawatts of installed capacity, which represents only 26.5 percent of the 4,010 megawatts (MW) additional ones that were expected to enter the system between 2022 and 2023.

(Also read: Continuity of energy subsidies for vulnerable households would be at risk)


Taken from the Gecelca 3 website

Wind and solar farms, the most critical

In this 2019 auction, for the first time in history, the participation of solar and wind projectsand eight initiatives won firm energy allocations, which is what the plants must generate and deliver when there are failures in the system or an El Niño phenomenon such as the one expected by the end of 2023, in order to guarantee that the Colombians will always have electricity in their homes.

These parks are also part of the package of initiatives that after four years have not been able to start operating. Apart from Tumawind and Chemesky -who have already lost the OEF- there are also El Paso Solar, La Loma Solar, Windpeshi, Casa Eléctrica, Alpha and Beta. They total 1,398 MW, of which 238 are solar and 1,160 wind.

Enel Green Power assured that the Windpeshi wind farm (205 MW), to be built in La Guajira, is more than 35 percent complete and would come into operation in the second half of 2024, which means a delay of more than two years. with respect to the first scheduled date.

In addition, a few weeks ago the company said that they would have significant cost overruns that could endanger the viability of the project, due, among other factors, to the multiple blockades that neighboring communities have staged. However, the intervention of the National Government and the agreement with neighboring communities allowed the construction of the wind farm to be reactivated.

Regarding Casa Eléctrica, which was renamed Paa’inwashi Waya, AES Colombia assures that its entry into operation came from Colectora, the transmission line that it is building from Bogota Energy Group (GEB) and whose start date was postponed to July 2025.

Despite the delay presented by this project and Apotolorru (another wind farm now called Sa’anasia Woumain), AES Colombia is complying with its energy delivery obligations with other assets that it has in the country so that the guarantees are not enforced.

This represented an additional cost to the company of more than 85,000 million pesos in 2022 and it is projected that it would cost about 291,000 million until 2025since it also depends on Collector.

(Also read: The Caribbean region will have a bank of energy projects to attract investors)

With Termocandelaria, the other thermal projects that have entered and the existing plants, we are just ready to attend
the demand

The situation of Alpha and Beta is not encouraging either. Since December 2021, the turbines for these projects have been stored in Puerto Brisa because they could not be installed, since EDP Renovables has not been able to obtain the environmental license it needs to build a transmission line that will link the projects to the national grid.

This has pushed the schedule hard behind schedule and the company now anticipates that it can start generating power by the end of 2024.

Meanwhile, The La Loma solar park is expected to start generating in the second half of 2023, while the El Paso expansion works would be ready by the end of the year. Enel Green Power will install 25,000 additional solar panels in this project that has existed since December 2018 to generate energy that could supply the consumption of 118,000 homes.

For the second half of the year, it is also expected that the expansion of Termocandelaria and Termocaribe 3.

Despite the delays that arise, the executive director of the National Association of Generating Companies (Andeg), Alejandro Castañeda, assured that «with Termocandelaria, the other thermal projects that have entered and the existing plants, we are just enough to meet the demand in the coming months, but it is necessary to have good coordination for the supply of coal, natural gas and liquid fuels«.

Alexandra Hernández, executive director of Ser Colombia.

However, the executive director of Ser Colombia, Alexandra Hernández, points out that in the short term the entry of wind and solar farms is necessary to meet the needs of Colombians in the face of the phenomenon of the child. In addition, given that estimates and internal balances indicate that the system will have a narrow gap between firm energy and demand for the next two years.

And so that the projects that win OEF assignments in August do not face the same problems that those of the last auction are reporting, Hernández said that a government-industry union is required to solve the bottlenecks in the procedures, Clearly defined times for environmental permits and licensespromote long-term contracting mechanisms and speed up market reforms without jeopardizing the future of smaller-scale projects.

While the executive director of Andeg stated that it is necessary for The Minister of Mines and Energy, Irene Vélez, sends messages of calm to the market so that companies can make investment decisions and participate in the new Reliability Charge auction, because «the energy transition must be orderly» and the country will continue to need thermoelectric plants for many more years to support the entry of new solar parks and wind farms to the system.

(Also read: One more year of waiting for large-scale wind power to take off)

Wind farms lose supported energy

Tumawind (200 MW) and Chemesky (100 MW) are two other wind farms that Enel green energy seeks to build in La Guajira and they have not been oblivious to the environmental and social problems that other initiatives of this type have had to face.

Although the company sought various alternatives to postpone its entry into operations scheduled for December 2022, «it was not possible to advance due to market conditions» and preferred to pay the guarantee that backed the OEF, before they were executed. This resulted in the loss of the steady energy that had been assigned to it for 20 years.

Enel Green Power plans to modify the date of entry into operation of Tumawind and Chemeskywithout this exceeding three months after the commissioning of the Collector line, since they must also be connected to this line to be able to deliver energy to the national grid.