The big leap forward!

It is the first time that an auction for the contracting of energy from unconventional sources for the country is made in Colombia.

Amikar David Acosta Medina​ 

Colombian economist and politician.

The auction for the contracting of energy from unconventional renewable energy sources (FNCER) at 15 years, is the first of its kind in the country. It has as a special feature that, unlike conventional ones, this is convergent, as mentioned by the Minister of Mines and Energy, María Fernanda Suárez “de dos punta”, where 20 generating companies and 23 energy traders participated, determining the Price of $ 95.65 per KWH weighted average, through the free play of supply and demand in the bid.

This price is well below the maximum maximum limit of $ 200 KWH and the average maximum limit of $ 160 KWH set by the CREG. It goes without saying that this price is within the range of FNCER energy prices in the rest of the world. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), on average, international prices for solar – photovoltaic and wind energy as of September this year were quoted at $ 190 KWH and $ 165 KWH, respectively.

With this, the deeply rooted belief that FNCER’s power generation was too expensive was demystified and that insisting on integrating it into the energy matrix meant increasing the rate to the end user, when the opposite is true, given that its cost It has dropped dramatically in the last decade at the mercy of the disruptive advances in technology and thanks to this the KW prices of this electricity are widely competitive.

This auction was preceded by two previous ones that took place in the month of February this year. The first one was an attempt to auction FNCER’s energies, exclusively, even though a greater number of bidders concurred to it than expected since the prices offered were competitive, it was not possible to award any contract due to regulatory norms. too restrictive So much so that in the subsequent auction, with a different character, since it was to offer firm energy with a charge of reliability and in which equal bidders of energy from conventional and unconventional sources, 1,398 MW were allocated therein.

Already with the lessons learned from the previous process and the adjustments required by the competent authority, the rise of the learning curve was less painful. These adjustments include the extension of the period of long-term contracts, contemplated in Decree 0570 of 2018, from 12 to 15 years and CREG Resolution 030 of 2018, aimed at integrating the FNCER into the energy matrix, as well as well as the “block – schedule”, which responds to the intermittency of the FNCER’s own generation. It is also noteworthy the contractual modality of “pay the contracted”, which forces the buyer of the energy to pay the contracted, regardless of whether he has it or not, while the one who sells it is obliged to supply it, even if he has to leave Buy it in the stock market at market price to honor your commitment. All this facilitated the financial closure and therefore the viability of the projects.

Thus the road was paved for the realization of this last auction, only for long-term electricity generation contracts from FNCER. There was no lack of criticism of the fact that it was not “open”, that it excluded conventional energy generators from the call, as well as the open opposition to the mandatory purchase of energy from FNCER, to the point that said provision was sued before the Constitutional Court.

Well, with the awarding of five wind power generation projects and three of solar-photovoltaic farms to seven generating companies and 22 marketing companies, with a generation capacity of 10,186 MWH / day, which are added to those awarded on 26 Last February, Colombia is taking the big leap forward, in the best style of Caterine Ibargüen. As stated by the Minister of Mines and Energy, María Fernanda Suárez, “this is the beginning of a revolution, because it allows us to diversify our electric matrix (…) in this way, we will have an increasingly clean, resilient and responsible matrix with the environment”. And it is not for less, because of the 1% participation that the FNCER have today in the daily consumption of the country will be passed in 2022, when the assigned projects begin to operate, at 6%. This is a hit scored by the Government of President Iván Duque, who exceeded his goal for this four-year period (of 1,400 MW) by more than 50%, reaching 2,250 MW, which is largely due to the effort put by the Minister of Mines and Energy, María Fernanda Suárez, to tighten the step to the energy transition that she launched, based on Law 1715 of 2014 and Law 1955 of 2018 of the National Development Plan 2018 – 2022 , and, as announced by the Mining and Energy Planning Unit, it has a waiting list of similar projects for more than 7,000 MW. !! Congratulations!!
Finally, it should be noted that, given that the projects already awarded must enter to generate and commercialize said energy in 2022, it is required to have the transmission infrastructure that allows it to be injected into the National Transmission System (STN). Therefore, the first milestone and perhaps the most important to enable the integration of the FNCER into the energy matrix and the conversion of it, was to have a “collecting” station of the energy generated in the Alta Guajira, where it is concentrated the largest number of projects to be installed and the “connecting” lines to evacuate the energy generated. The Bogotá Energy Group is responsible for these projects to transport energy to the Cuestecitas Substation in La Guajira and from there to La Loma in Cesar, where it will be connected to the STN network.

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