By Nudge Sustainability Reporter Adriana Olaya
Colombia’s unique climate and wide-ranging ecosystems (tropical rainforests, Amazon jungle, deserts and marshes to the perpetual snowfalls in the Andes Mountains) provide conditions to make clean renewable energy production feasible. Moreover, the country is dedicated to making the energy sector more sustainable and has been recognized for its commitment to environmental conservation and energy diversification.
The diverse energy portfolio includes hydroelectric, wind and solar power, and biofuels.
Colombia ranks third in world water resources. Its abundance of water is ideal for hydroelectric power. After Brazil, Colombia is on second place in regards to hydroelectric potential in Latin America. Hydroelectric energy covers 70% of the country’s power generation. Much of Colombia's hydroelectric generation is located in the mountainous northwest part of the country, which produces about 40% of the hydroelectric power, or a bit more than one-quarter of the total electricity generation. The total large hydropower potential for Colombia is estimated at 93GW, with an additional 25GW of small hydropower (<20MW).
Colombia also has a reasonable amount of geothermal energy potential, though there has been no real effort to exploit it and it remains largely untouched.
Colombia has the best geological conditions to provide stable wind power. Offshore regions of northern Colombia have been classified with class seven winds (winds over nine meters per second). The Guajira Peninsula on the north-eastern tip of the country has the potential to generate 21 GW, enough power to provide two times the energy needed by the complete country. Nowadays Colombia is moving ahead with its first wind power project in this region, a 20 MWe pilot wind farm with 15 turbines.
Using exclusively hydro and wind power, Colombia could supply the energy necessary to provide for itself, and many of its neighbors in South and Central America, becoming a world power renewable energy source. The achievement of this energy development would lead to a brighter future for the country and the region, and the good news is that it is half way of reaching it.