ELECTRICITY

Colombia 2017 | GREEN ECONOMY | B2B

Though robustly advancing and keenly supported by the government, the opportunities for the further expansion of Colombia's grid include everything from public transport in Bogotá to the jungles of the Panamanian border.

José Antonio Vargas Lleras
JOSÉ ANTONIO VARGAS LLERAS
President
Codensa
Federico Echavarría
FEDERICO ECHAVARRÍA
General Manager
AES Chivor

What are some of your biggest strategies over the next few years?

JOSÉ ANTONIO VARGAS LLERAS Here at Codensa, the company most responsible for energy distribution in Bogotá and the region of Cundinamarca, we have more than 3 million clients. We need to move fast in order to give them the chance to access new technologies and new possibilities related to energy uses and solutions. We are investing in all digital technologies related to smart cities, beginning with smart meters, which will enable us to control all our operations from a centralized system. We are also developing some new programs like those related to electric mobility, which are necessary to improving our environment. We are optimistic in the fact that the city will choose electric options for public transportation. Transmilenio should be electric. The new metro line will, of course, be electric. This is one of our main goals in Colombia, specifically in Bogotá. In the city, we are starting to work on distributed electricity; we have installed solar panels on our rooftop, for example.

FEDERICO ECHAVARRÍA In general, the electricity and energy sectors are going through interesting times with all the developments in new technologies. For example, we are the global leader in energy storage. Technology is one component that is going to change the way we do business in the electricity sector. The other major change is the more active role that consumers will play—with smart grid and distributed generation, for example. AES, as a whole, is well prepared and positioned to take advantage of this changing environment. This is what we are doing in Colombia. We are trying to develop energy storage, as we believe this will provide an interesting solution to many of the transmission constraints we have in certain parts of Colombia such as the Caribbean coast. The development of solar and wind will also create great opportunities in Colombia. Finally, we need to get even closer to our clients and make sure we provide a full service to our clients, not only with Chivor energy, but with other types of non conventional energy and products.

What opportunities are you currently pursuing?

JAVL Our group is developing new energy solutions for the entire Colombian market different from power generation. Most of these new services and products will be focused on digital developments for the grid. Solutions are being focused on the three main challenges our industry will face in the future: electrification, digitalization, and decentralized systems. We have also been working on the project connecting Colombia and Panama for 10-12 years. At times, it felt as though the project's construction was near, but at the moment I do not see a clear solution. This is a pity because we spent years studying the benefits for each of the two countries and regions. This is a project that will not only benefit Colombia and Panama, but Central America and possibly Ecuador and Peru.

FE Colombia is a country highly committed to private investment. Colombians believe that private and foreign investment are key components to the growth and development of the country. The electricity sector works within this framework. Second, we have well-structured regulations. We have stable rules and a clear framework that allow players to understand the challenges and the strategies to implement. Third, the electricity sector participants have the same vision as the government in thinking that we need to grow using the most efficient energy. In the end, companies, the regulator, and the government all want to ensure that we have competitive, sustainable, and reliable energy. Finally, Colombia is a rich country in terms of resources: we have gas, coal, solar, wind, and hydro. So, all this allows a business environment in which every technology can compete. Accordingly, we have been promoting the idea that in Colombia there is no need to promote or support certain technologies; all of them are able to compete, including renewables, guaranteeing the most competitive, sustainable, and reliable energy for the end consumer.