Colombia has launched its first offshore wind auction, in a process expected to take around 10 months.
Minister of Mines and Energy Andrés Camacho kicked off the round at COP28. The acreage on offer is in the Caribbean Sea, where the wind resource is the best.
“The process is open and will involve investors from all over the world interested in the development of wind energy. This new country project will position Colombia as a benchmark in the generation of renewable energy in the region, and will strengthen national energy security,” said Camacho.
The minister said the offering covered around 12,000 square km, in Atlántico, Bolívar and part of Sucre and Magdalena departments. The first round aims to generate 3 GW and create thousands of jobs, with foreign direct investment of more than $1 billion per project.
Companies can apply for an area of up to 270 square km. Once the permit is granted, operators will have eight years to carry out work.
He also noted that the World Bank, the Danish Energy Agency, the Netherlands and USAID were helping Colombia.
Offshore wind is attractive, Camacho said, given its high utilisation rates, it avoids land use conflict and helps develop port and industrial capacity.
Colombia’s main export is crude oil, but the country has set out plans to embrace the energy transition and recently signed up as a “friend” of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA).
At the end of November, the country appointed Orlando Velandia Sepúlveda to head the Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos (ANH). In a statement, the agency said hydrocarbons would have a “vital role” in the path to the energy transition.
ANH is involved in studies to assess Colombia’s potential for geothermal, hydrogen and wind.
The Colombia agency, in a presentation, said it would aim to award areas in November 2024 and finalise the process by May 2025.
Colombia was also named as a member of Ocean Energy Pathway (OEP) on December 5. This is a $250mn fund that aims to accelerate wind development over the next 10 years, in at least 10 markets. It named Colombia, in addition to India, Brazil and South Africa.
“Countries across the world are turning to offshore wind to power their growing economies. Ocean Energy Pathway will help them realise their ambitions,” said Global Wind Energy Council head Rebecca Williams. OEP has the aim of reaching 2 TW of offshore wind by 2050.
ANH has published a number of resources on Colombia’s offshore wind potential. It has also shed light on some of the potentially interested parties.
Macquarie’s Corio Generation, Bluefloat Energy, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Repsol’s renewables unit, Ecopetrol, local power company Suncol ECC and DEME Concessions have all lodged inquiries.