Colombia is attracting foreign investment for offshore wind and hydrogen projects boosted by its renewables potential. Energy minister Diego Mesa spoke to Argus in New York about Bogota’s efforts to attract investment in green technologies. Colombia is attracting foreign investment for offshore wind and hydrogen projects boosted by its renewables potential. Energy minister Diego Mesa spoke to Argus in New York about Bogota’s efforts to attract investment in green technologies.
What plans are there to help the new projects connect smoothly to the grid?
There was a big bottleneck in Colombia given the design of the application process for connection points by the previous administration. It was decided that the process would be on a first-come, first-served basis. This created a speculative market, as many thought that these connection points would be very valuable. Many people bought a connection point without having a real project and they looked for a project after to sell the connection point. We have changed this process and made it more competitive and transparent with technical allocation criteria. We managed to free around 6GW of capacity in connection points. Now those that do have a project can request a connection point until 30 June.
How are you working towards integrating more renewables to the grid?
There is a plan for the expansion of the national and regional transmission networks, and this is done through open and competitive public tenders. In July last year, we held the first large-scale storage auction in Latin America to support the regional transmission network in the Atlantic department. A 45MW battery was awarded to Canadian Solar and will start operations in 2023. We are exploring an HDVC [high-voltage, direct-current] line in La Guajira too.
Have foreign investors shown interest in hydrogen projects?
Foreign investors already know that we have world-class resources in solar and wind power [and] they know that this is a country extremely rich in water. They are very happy with the roadmap and with the fact that we are putting out public and regulatory policy in this regard. Ecopetrol, our state oil company, is in the process of holding a public tender for 120MW exclusively dedicated to hydrogen at its refineries. There are about 14 companies participating. There is also a company based in New York interested in producing green ammonia in Colombia, and it is not a secret that Fortescue Future Industries has been in Colombia recently, they have been working with us for a year looking for green hydrogen production.
How is the offshore wind sector progressing?
The first pilot was announced with [Denmark-based] Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners for a 350MW project in association with the Cartagena mayor’s office, and other companies like [Spain-based] BlueFloat Energy are interested. It is a great opportunity for the new government to bring on the first offshore wind projects in the next four years. These projects have the normal incentives for renewable projects and can participate in power expansion auctions. We have seen in the [offshore wind] roadmap that the production factor of these projects is around 70pc.