Colombia has outlined its timeline to accept bids for offshore wind blocks, setting the stage for the expansion of renewable energy initiatives in the country. The government revealed this plan following a presentation to private companies and representatives from European governments.
President Gustavo Petro's administration, the first leftist leadership in Colombia, is committed to reducing the nation's reliance on fossil fuel revenues while achieving energy self-sufficiency.
Although more than 50 wind and solar projects have been announced by companies in Colombia since 2019, none have reached operational status despite initial targets for this year or the previous year. Presently, wind and solar energy contribute less than 1% to the country's power generation, with hydroelectric generation dominating at 70%.
Challenges have hampered the offshore wind licensing process, as tender documents, initially expected to be published in August 2023, faced delays. According to documents from the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH), the bidding date for the offshore blocks is now officially set for August 2, 2024.
In an effort to engage with private companies and inform them about the upcoming bidding round and legal prerequisites, the government invited representatives from European governments and industry groups. The presentation aimed to clarify key aspects of the offshore wind initiative.
This month, the Ministry of Mines and Energy introduced draft modifications to the regulations governing the licensing process for offshore wind farms. These amendments would require bidders to establish a “shareholding agreement with the Colombian state company,” although the specific state entity was not identified.
One of the documents included a provision for private enterprises to declare a “consortium or promise of future partnership” with the undisclosed state company.
In the preceding month, sources had indicated that the Colombian government was considering making the state-run oil company, Ecopetrol, a mandatory partner for all offshore wind projects, although the exact stake size remained unspecified. The ministry had not provided details regarding the potential partnership with Ecopetrol in response to previous inquiries.