A new publication presents the electrical situation in Colombia’s San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina Archipelago and analyzes the challenges faced and the alternatives that can lead the area to electrical sustainability, including measures related to efficient demand management (GED) and the development of non-conventional renewable energy (FNCER). This analysis takes into account the specific conditions of the archipelago such as cultural and demographic energy resources, and social characteristics and consumption patterns.
The San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina Archipelago is the only island region of Colombia, and its capital, San Andres, is the main island of the country. The archipelago is one of the Non-Interconnected Zones (ZNI) in Colombian territory. It supplies energy demand, almost entirely based on fossil fuels, which involves challenges to environmental sustainability due to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). It also involves financial tax burdens for the central government because of the subsidy granted for electricity generation. There are also inefficiencies in consumption due to the obsolescence of electrical equipment and the inadequate use of electricity by system beneficiaries. Efficient energy demand management (GED) and the penetration of unconventional sources of renewable energy (FNCER) are considered strategic pillars for achieving sustainable energy development worldwide, thereby reducing energy consumption and changing the mix to cleaner configurations, with the goal of improving the quality of life of the population. These two pillars have been identified as potential strategies to be implemented in the archipelago, mainly due to the characteristics of its market, its natural resources, the geographical context and the equipment used. These aspects have a significant potential to help improve the efficiency of systems and take advantage of the solar and wind resources in the region.
Currently one of the major global challenges is ensuring an energy supply that is environmentally sustainable, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB, based on its experience and knowledge, has identified GED measures and the development of electricity potential from FNCER, as two of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy efficiency (EE) is the most important measures to strengthen as in addition to GHG reduction, it generates multiple benefits such as increased gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 1% per year, which implies a greater disposable income, saving capacity for households and the competitiveness of official sectors and services (EIA, 2014b). Countries in the region are challenged to change ingrained patterns of production and unsustainable consumption through the promotion of actions to promote EE and renewable energy sources (RES) with the help of transversal technologies that allow proper integration and operation, such as, for example, smart grids.
The GED and projects that diversify the energy basket form part of the thematic lines that guide the actions of the IDB in the energy sector in Latin America and the Caribbean:
- Access to Energy: emphasis on coverage, reliability and affordability of electricity
- Energy Sustainability: EE focused on renewable energy and adaptation to climate change
- Energy Security: quality of services provided, infrastructure and regional energy integration
- Energy Governance: strengthening of institutions, policies and regulation of sectoral information
To find out how this project will contribute to a more sustainable future in Colombia, read more here.