Colombia kickstarts its energy transition

The public health crisis of Coronavirus has been accompanied by the economic crisis of lockdowns and the lost business that it entails. All around the world, governments have been scrambling to protect and stimulate their economies. Many have spotted the opportunity to direct public funding towards projects that will not just boost the post-covid economy, but reset the economy onto a fairer and more sustainable footing. We have been tracking some of these initiatives in our ‘Better Normal’ case studies.

In these green stimulus initiatives, renewable energy often features, and Colombia is one of the countries using the crisis to power up its energy transition.

Colombia is working from a low base when it comes to renewable energy. Three quarters of the country’s energy is from fossil fuels. Of the remaining quarter, 24% of it is provided by hydropower. Taken together, solar and wind power account for less than one percent. As part of its stimulus package, the government seeks to accelerate over two dozen different renewable energy and grid projects, including several large scale wind and solar projects, and three geothermal. It will create an estimated 55 thousand jobs in the process.

Other sustainability measures in the stimulus package include a major treeplanting project, the Bogota Metro and other mass transit initiatives. Unfortunately a massive road building programme is also planned, and improvements to airports. In that sense Colombia’s stimulus can’t be unequivocably described as ‘green’, but it is notable for its attempt to kickstart a solar and wind sector in the country.

Vast amounts of public money will be spent in 2020 and 2021 as countries respond to the coronavirus and its economic aftermath. The more countries direct that spending towards a just transition to clean energy, the better.

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