Electrifying

Colombia sees growing copper demand driven by the energy transition.

Copper is crucial for the energy transition as a key material for the construction of renewable energy infrastructure, particularly wind turbines. Additionally, other metals such as gold are expected to be used in the new generation of electric vehicles due to conduction and resistance properties. In this context, Colombia will have to prioritise low emission mining which includes lithium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, nickel and copper, among others.

A regulatory lawyer for the mining sector commented, “The current government seems to be betting on the mining of copper and gold, which can be used for the transmission of energy, for example in solar panels. Thus, efforts are moving towards those new products that the energy transition will demand.”

“The current government seems to be betting on the mining of copper and gold […], moving towards those new products that the energy transition will demand.”

Lawyer, mining industry, Colombia

In terms of its own energy transition, a technical energy executive believes the country has a lot still to do, “Colombia is still behind when compared to different countries worldwide, we are still dependent on fossil fuels. At the current level of domestic consumption, the energy transition will take longer than the government has projected. Ecopetrol is working hard on solar parks but the problem is that the technology for generation is expensive and requires a lot of space. Wind energy is less efficient so the initial focus will be on solar.”

“Colombia is still behind when compared to different countries worldwide, we are still dependent on fossil fuels.”

Technical executive, energy business, Colombia

Miguel Lotero, deputy minister of Energy of Colombia said in November 2020 that companies needed to better understand their energy consumption in order to facilitate the energy transition in Colombia. He also affirmed that the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Technology, Information and Communications are currently cooperating to implement an energy data analysis system which will allow large companies to implement more efficient energy consumption plans which will facilitate a gradual shift to renewable energy sources.

According to WWF, Colombia is fifth, behind Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico, in quantity of renewable energy infrastructure. Colombia first implemented a consistent energy transition plan in 2019 when it released tenders for eight renewable energy projects which could attract USD 2.2 billion once completed. By 2022, the Ministry of Energy of Colombia expects that a 10% of total energy production in the country will be generated from renewable energy sources.

The Congress of Colombia will debate in the following weeks the implementation of the Energy Transition bill 365/2020 to promote energy transition support measures in the country. The bill includes a provision to increase the funds of the Non-Conventional Efficient Energy Fund (FNCER), facilitate access to public tenders in the renewable energy sectors, simplify the bureaucratic procedures for projects that promote the energy transition, and promote investments to improve the connectivity of current sustainable energy infrastructure.

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