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Colombia’s offshore wind projects could offer export opportunities – Platts

Offshore wind potential of 50 GW in Colombia. Challenges include lack of local experience, grid issues, inadequate ports. Partnerships required with local players likely Ecopetrol.(Bnamericas)
Offshore wind potential of 50 GW in Colombia. Challenges include lack of local experience, grid issues, inadequate ports. Partnerships required with local players likely Ecopetrol.(Bnamericas)

Sheky Espejo, Platts

EnergiesNet.com 02 16 2024

As Colombia prepares to announce the first offshore wind projects in the country in April, observers note that the country poses attractive opportunities to become an exporter of green fuels, but challenges remain.

Colombia and Brazil are the two countries in Latin America that have huge potential for developing offshore wind, said Chris Banahan, country director at the UK Department for Business and Trade during a webinar organized by the British Embassy and FTI Consulting on Feb. 14

“Colombia has had the desire to develop offshore wind for a long time, but only recently did the country develop the legal framework to make this possible,” Banahan said. The British embassy has worked to increase technology exchange in all renewable energies, and is now working to understand how to unleash this potential, he said.

The Colombian Caribbean coastline has the potential to generate 109 GW of power, but considering environmental, social and tech constraints the real potential is closer to 50 GW, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Colombia.

“Offshore wind could be used to produce green hydrogen and other zero-carbon vectors such as ammonia, which could enable the decarbonization of local industries or could even be exported to other countries,” the Ministry said in its website.

But observers during the Feb. 14 webinar acknowledged there are still challenges to make Colombia’s plans a reality.

On the one hand, the government has requested that participants partner with a local player, which observers have speculated could be the state oil and gas company Ecopetrol.

Julio Dal Poz, a managing director at FTI, said that although this partnership could help “navigate the local challenges”, it could also pose potential risks in terms of governance and economics, as the local player may not have the financial or technical capabilities required for the project.

Pablo Zárate, another managing director from FTI said during the webinar that the lack of experienced personnel brings additional risks.

“It will be different from all we have seen before,” Zárate said regarding personnel.

The government has not yet designed the contractual mechanisms to market the energy produced by offshore wind farms and the state of the local grid could make it difficult for companies to export, said Dal Poz.

Finally, the experts said that the Colombian ports are also a source of concern in their current state, as they are unfit to receive components for the turbines, which are likely to be imported from other countries.

The size of the market, eventually, will determine whether the country could develop a local supply chain, but in the beginning, ports will be an issue, said Juan Viana, a senior director at FTI.

platss.com 02 14 2024

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