Residential energy efficiency to be promoted for isolated areas not connected to the national power grid
The Government of Colombia (GoC) is making important efforts to promote Energy Efficiency nationwide and consolidate an energy demand model in country zones not connected to the national power grid, Colombia’s Non-Interconnected Zones (ZNI). These areas are characterized by their significant degree of dispersion throughout the country, a high rate of unsatisfied basic needs and high costs of electric service delivery attributable to the use of diesel plants for power generation.
The IDB project financed by the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) will provide support to the achievement of the mentioned national energy strategy by designing and implementing an Energy Efficiency Program in the residential, public, commercial, and hotel sectors of the San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina Archipelago (San Andres, or the San Andres Archipelago).
San Andres offers a good example of the operational and functionality characteristics of the electrical systems installed in ZNIs. Thus, with measurable environmental and development impacts, and the possibility to be communicated and replicated at the local, regional and national level, the EE Program for San Andres is of considerable significance, due to the demonstrative effects that it can have as regards the management of the demand for electricity in Colombia’s other Non-Interconnected Zones.
The program. The Energy Efficiency Program for the San Andres Archipelago will be prepared with a US$552,000 CTF grant and carried out with a US$10 million CTF loan.
Project preparation includes a Technical Cooperation (TC) that will support the efforts of the Government of Colombia (GoC) in promoting EE and contribute to the consolidation of a model for managing the demand for electricity in Colombia’s Non-Interconnected Zones (ZNI). The objective of the TC is to design an Energy Efficiency program in the residential, public, commercial, and hotel sectors, including implementation of a Pilot Project in San Andres. The program will result in lower GHG emissions due to gains in energy efficiency at the users level, and contribute to improving living standards in the community.
TC for San Andrés Archipelago. The TC builds upon work done by the Mining and Energy Planning Unit (UPME) in identifying consumption patterns and energy efficiency potential in San Andres. UPME conducted a study designed to characterize energy consumption as well as energy audits in various sectors of the economy of the Archipelago. The information generated by these studies is a critical input for this TC in order to design an energy efficiency (EE) program in this region.
The above-mentioned energy characterization study indicates that the greatest consumption of electricity in the residential sector—as much as 80% of consumption by a single household—is linked to refrigeration and spatial temperature control (ventilation and air-conditioning). In other sectors, such as the hotel sector (specifically in the hotel sector, air-conditioning represents between 60% and 75% of the demand for electricity), the commercial sector and the public sector, the greatest demand for electric energy is for use by air-conditioning systems, followed by refrigeration and lighting systems. In all cases it is possible to observe significant inefficiencies stemming either from inappropriate practices involving equipment selection, installation, operation and maintenance, or from technological obsolescence.
The energy audits conducted in 2012, involving a number of homes and establishments in the hotel, commercial and public sectors, confirmed the efficiency improvement options identified in the characterization study and included a more detailed analysis, both technical and financial, of the actions recommended, as well as a review of the availability of equipment for promoting an appropriate process of technology conversion and an evaluation of the potential for using nonconventional sources of energy. In addition, the audits included an analysis of architectural structures and their relationship to energy consumption. This made it possible to conclude that the use of materials characterized by high heat transfer coefficients (heat transfer -expressed as U- is the measure of the heat that flows, per unit of time and surface area, through a constructive element having plane-parallel faces. The lower its value, the lower the flow of energy between the two faces, and accordingly the greater the heat insulation capacity of the constructive element), inadequate building design preventing advantageous use of natural ventilation and lighting, and low floor-to-ceiling distance are all factors generating a strong impact in terms of degree of comfort and increased use of electricity.
This TC will fund four principal components, as follows: (i) design of an EE program in the residential, public, commercial and hotel sectors that will include a technical, economic, financial, operational, environmental and social system for the integral implementation of the EE measures recommended in the energy audits carried out by UPME; (ii) design and development of a legal and financial mechanism to ensure the economic sustainability of the program and participation of main stakeholders; (iii) design and implementation of a pilot EE program in the residential, public, commercial and hotel sectors of San Andrés Island that will include EE measures as well as options for intelligent networks (Smart Grids) and sustainable energy; and (iv) design and implementation of a communication campaign to disseminate the results of the pilot project and promote EE measures focusing on all consumers in the Archipelago’s residential, public, commercial and hotel sectors.
Climate change impact. Diesel-powered electricity generation in San Andres, of approximately 158 GWh/year (assuming a 12% loss level as incorporated in the service fee set forth in the concession contract), is responsible for some 110,000 tons of CO2 per annum, resulting in an estimated emissions generation factor of 0.7 tons of CO2eq per MWh. Promotion of EE measures on the demand side will help reduce needs for electricity generation, with a corresponding positive impact on CO2 emissions reductions.
The studies conducted by UPME identify a series of steps to be taken to spur the implementation of a regional EE program. Specifically for implementation in the residential sector there is the technological conversion of refrigeration and ventilation equipment, the use of NCES (primarily for the lower socio-economic strata), and appropriate modification of architectural structures and internal electrical installations, all of which could lead to a reduction in the consumption of electricity of as much as 35% in this sector.
Preliminary estimations, that this TC will help to refine through the implementation of a Pilot Project and measurement of its impact, indicate that a reduction of up to 35% in the consumption of electricity in the residential sector would have the potential to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 10.9%.
High-priority on energy efficiency. Colombia has placed a high priority on energy efficiency. The GoC, through the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and within the framework of law 697 of 2001, has implemented a Representative Action Plan 2010 – 2015 for Developing a National Program for the Rational and Efficient Use of Energy and Other Nonconventional Forms of Energy, known by its Spanish acronym, PROURE. The objectives of this Plan are to (i) consolidate a culture for efficient resource management along the energy chain; (ii) build economic, technical, regulatory and information conditions to drive a market for energy efficient goods and services; (iii) strengthen institutions and promote entrepreneurship for the development of PROURE; and (iv) facilitate implementation of standards related to incentives, including tax incentives, to enable further the development of PROURE. The EE Program in San Andres is considered by UPME a priority Sub-program within the PROURE context.
Lessons learned. This TC combines technical, economic, financial, operational, environmental and social impact studies (as required to design an EE Program), with the implementation of a pilot project including measurement of its impact. This structure allows for lessons learned to be comprehensive, reflect implementation challenges and solutions, and be incorporated in the design of an overarching EE program for San Andres whose implementation is expected as the next stage of this CTF program.
Also, as mentioned earlier, the EE Program for San Andres is of considerable significance, due to the demonstrative effects that it can have as regards the management of the demand for electricity in Colombia’s other Non-Interconnected Zones.