Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/27/2012 -- BMI View: Hydroelectricity continues to dominate Colombia's energy mix, and this quarter is no exception. While problems at the Porce IV hydroelectric plant have put construction on hold, other projects, such as El Quimbo, are moving forwards, with Emgesa claiming that it is on track for a start to commercial operations in late 2014. Work is close to completion at the Amoya hydroelectric station - construction was 90% complete in March 2012 according to Isagen - while the 19.9MW Alto Tulua plant began commercial operations in May 2012. Funding continues to be a concern for new projects, with public utility EPM announcing it is seeking investment partners for work on the Hidroituango dam. Fears of lengthy, and expensive, compensation may put investors off; EPM is seeking to reduce this risk and has asked the government to declare investment in the area around the Hidroituango dam eligible for tax breaks.
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Hydroelectric power continues to contribute to 80% of total consumption in Colombia, and despite the tenders awarded in late December 2011 and January 2012 for three thermal projects, hydro will continue to dominate the energy mix during the course of our forecast period. Colombia's pipeline will see the country's electricity export-capacity increase in the next five years, and as progress on the transmission line between Colombia and Panama advances, this will open up Colombia's potential export markets and sources of future income.
During 2011-2016, BMI forecasts that Colombia's overall power generation will increase by an annual average of 4.0%, reaching 75.4 terawatt hours (TWh). Driving this growth are annual gains of 4.1% and 6.49% in hydroelectric power and renewables generation respectively. Coal and gas-fired generation are forecast to increase by an annual average of 4.8% and 3.4% respectively.
Following a rise in real GDP of 5.9% in 2011, BMI expects average annual growth of 4.6% between 2011 and 2021. Net power consumption looks set to increase to 58.6TWh by 2016, rising to 70.7TWh by 2021. The theoretical net import requirement by 2016 is put at -3.48TWh, where and Colombia's export capacity will increase to -5.7TWh by 2012.
Key developments in Colombia's power sector this quarter include:
- EPM announced in May 2012 that it is seeking investors to participate in the US$5.5bn 2,400MW Hidroituango hydroelectric project. EPM is hoping that the government declares the hydroelectric plant's site as eligible for tax breaks, to encourage external investment.
- In May 2012, the 19.9MW Alto Tulua hydroelectric plant began operations in a COP115bn project led by state utility EPSA.
- State-controlled grid operator ISA announced in June 2012 that it expects a tender for the electric transmission connection between Colombia and Panama will be launched by the end of July 2012.
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