Colombia Partnership

To assist the government of Colombia in achieving its renewable energy integration and energy transition targets, the USAID-NREL Partnership provides technical and regulatory support to public and private stakeholders across the Colombian energy sector.

Group of people in conference room listen to presentation.

USAID-NREL Partnership support to Colombia spans across a range of technologies and priority areas for the country. This includes a comprehensive training program to support Colombia's energy sector workforce with integrating growing volumes of variable renewable energy. In addition, the USAID-NREL Partnership has provided technical assistance for integrating distributed energy resources, regulatory and policy support for clean hydrogen, geothermal, and wind energy, and technical review and design support for the resilient reconstruction of Colombia's Providencia Island.

Activities

The USAID-NREL Partnership developed a consideration tree for hydrogen deployment. Hydrogen is becoming popular for its potential to accelerate decarbonization across energy sectors. Hydrogen is discussed as “the fuel of the future” with potential to both decarbonize domestic energy consumption and serve as an export commodity. The USAID-NREL Partnership are helping countries like Colombia assess the potential (economic, social, and climate benefits) and tradeoffs (supply chain, transportation, storage technology costs) associated with hydrogen.

Hydrogen Considerations Tree, NREL Presentation (2023)

Integracion eficiente de energias renovables variables al sistema Colombiano

To support Colombia's energy transition priorities, a development team composed of NREL, the USAID Colombia Mission, USAID's Scaling Up Renewable Energy program, implemented by Tetra Tech, and the U.S. Energy Association, created a series of training modules designed to ready Colombia's energy sector workforce to participate in the construction, operation, and grid integration of VRE projects.

Learn More About the Training Program

Young Leaders Workforce Training Program: Overview and Impact (English) (2022)

Young Leaders Workforce Training Program: Overview and Impact (Spanish) (2022)

The initial cohort of participants developed action plans to apply the program's training content to real-world energy questions they are facing in their respective organizations. The development team selected four action plan teams to receive tailored technical assistance from NREL to support plan implementation. The four plans selected represent various topics associated with planning for the efficient integration of distributed energy resources, including:

  • Electric vehicle fleet planning
  • Smart city planning for electric mobility
  • Distributed solar photovoltaic generation modeling
  • Regulatory considerations for distributed energy resource integration.

The selected action plans were led by the Comisión de Regulación de Energía y Gas, Empresa de Energía de Boyacá, Grupo de Energía de Bogotá, and the Association for Renewable Energy. Explore the action plans:

Regulatory Road Map for Distributed Energy Resource Interconnection and Interoperability NREL Technical Report (2023)

Early Adopters Work to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Transitions in Boyaca, Colombia NREL Technical Report (2023)

Forecasting Distributed Photovoltaic Adoption in Barranquilla, Colombia NREL Technical Report (2023)

Planning for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Bogotá, Colombia NREL Technical Report (2023)

Considerations for Developing a Regulatory Roadmap for Distributed Energy Resource Integration in Colombia, NREL Presentation (2022)

I think it was a very good experience. It was an experience in which we had the opportunity to learn from many countries, many experts, and that made it enriching. In the end, the program was good in terms of not only achieving a good result, but allowing us the possibility that our work is applied and really contributes to the country.—Catherine Bohórquez Rodriguez, Ingeniera de la Dirección Técnica de Energía en Superintendencia de Servicios Públicos Domiciliarios

Learn more about this program: NREL Helps Develop Colombia's Next Generation of Renewable Energy Leaders

The USAID-NREL Partnership also provided technical support for the development of a training program to indigenous communities in the La Guajira region of Colombia, where significant renewable energy project development is being planned. As part of NREL's role in the project, the lab provided technical training materials to integrate in the courses, including resource maps from RE Data Explorer, educational images of renewable energy technologies, and translated webinars from the workforce training program mentioned previously.

Group of people sit and stand for photo.

The USAID-NREL Partnership team worked with Colombia's Ministry of Energy and Mines, Sociedad Productora de Energía de San Andrés y Providencia S.A. E.S.P., Ecopetrol, and other stakeholders with planning and design for rebuilding the energy system on Providencia Island, which was decimated by Hurricane Iota in November 2020. This working group conducted high-level technical analyses and workshops, which led to the development of four white papers designed to guide Providencia Island's sustainable energy transition.

NREL's technical assistance for Providencia addresses needs identified by USAID-Colombia and other key partners to inform development of an Energy Master Plan for Providencia Island and support the integration of renewable energy resources at the distribution level. Learn about Providencia Island's energy transition plans in the Climatelinks blog, and view the power system capacity expansion analysis published by NREL that details the costs and benefits of integrating renewable energy and energy storage onto the island: Providencia Island High-Level Power System Capacity Expansion Analyses (2022).

Explore the white papers:

Providencia Island White Papers: Stakeholder Engagement and Coordination in Interconnection Rulemaking, NREL Technical Report (2022)

Providencia Island White Papers: Hawaii, USA: A Grid Planning Case Study for Providencia Island, Colombia, NREL Technical Report (2022)

Providencia Island White Papers: Overview of Technical Requirements for Interconnection, NREL Technical Report (2022)

Providencia Island White Papers: Potential for Increasing the Physical Resilience of Distributed Energy Resources, NREL Technical Report (2022)

Engagement with the government of Colombia began in 2017, when the development team provided support for the design, preparation, and implementation of international renewable energy auction mechanisms to develop large-scale solar and wind energy resources and assign long-term power purchase contracts. 

In February 2019, Colombia carried out its reliability auction and in October 2019, its first solar and wind power procurement auction. The two auctions resulted in a total of 2.5 gigawatts of new solar and wind projects in operation in 2023, which allows the government of Colombia to surpass its initial goal.

Learn more about how the USAID-NREL Partnership supported these auctions: Competition in Colombia Sparks Renewable Energy Expansion.

Toolkits Used

RE Data Explorer

Resilient Energy Platform

Colombia's Power Sector Transformation Videos

Únase a la Transformación de Energígía Limpia de Colombia
Versión en Español

Text version: Únase a la Transformación de Energígía Limpia de Colombia

Join Colombia's Clean Energy Transformation
English Version

Text version: Join Colombia's Clean Energy Transformation


Acelerando la Transición Energética de Colombia a través del Empoderamiento de la Personal
Versión en Español

Text version: Acelerando la Transición Energética de Colombia a través del Empoderamiento de la Personal

Accelerating Colombia's Energy Transition through Workforce Empowerment
English Version

Text version: Accelerating Colombia's Energy Transition through Workforce Empowerment

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