Federico Echavarría

General Manager, AES Chivor

AES Chivor is the affiliate of AES in Colombia and owns a 1,000 MW hydro facility, the third largest plant in the country. In a regular year, it produces around 8% of the power generated in the country. The government originally built Chivor in the 1970s when the government was in charge of the power sector. At that time, Chivor was part of ISA, a government-owned integrated utility that comprised generation and transmission. During the early 1990s, Colombia's electricity sector had a crisis due to an extended period of low rainfall. The country is heavily affected by the warming and cooling of the Pacific Ocean, called the El Niño and La Niña weather cycle. Colombia had a very strong El Niño, meaning dry weather, in the early 1990s. The infrastructure was not in place, and the country had to ration energy in 1992 and 1993. It is important for the authorities to evaluate crises like these and try to find solutions to the country's problems. Colombia accomplished this, and the authorities deregulated the electricity sector.


Juan Jorge Celis Neira

President Colombia, Alstom

From Colombia, we cover Colombia itself and some of the Central American countries and the Caribbean. We follow these countries from Bogotá. In terms of electricity, Colombia is one of the richest countries in hydro potential. However, we do not have enough demand to exploit this potential. The only way is to sell energy to neighboring countries. This is how we expect the electricity sector will evolve in the future. Despite the fact that markets are mature enough to evolve to be more international, political willingness and regulations have to evolve and accept that electricity could be transferred from one country to another. Electricity is a commodity but, internationally speaking, it is not built as a commodity yet in this region. Technically speaking, there are no barriers or restrictions to getting interconnected across the continent. There is the possibility to transport electricity from Madrid to Moscow without any technical restrictions today.


Sandra Stella Fonseca A.

President, Grupo Energía de Bogotá (EEB)

Our first task is to continue working on ongoing projects, which make up about 70% of our portfolio. We have a $2.2 billion investment plan for the next four years. Colombia accounts for 35% of that, and we also participate in the Peruvian and Guatemalan markets. Our main projects are in gas distribution, mainly in Peru and Colombia. There's also an $874 million power transmission project in Guatemala, as well as power transmission projects worth $300 million in Colombia. We have placed a bid for a power line network in Chile, and we have an eye on Panama and Brazil, so we're very busy. They're very important projects for the country's interconnected power system. The government opened four projects for bidding, and we won three out of four. These are 230 kW high-voltage projects. One of the projects is in Armenia, another is near Valle, and the third is Tesalia, which will enable connections with the large power-generating project in Quibo.


Lucio Rubio Díaz

General Director, Endesa Colombia

Endesa's operations in Colombia are very stable and well balanced in the power generation segment with Emgesa, and in the distribution segment with Codensa. In 2012, we celebrated our 15th anniversary in the country, and over this period we have consolidated our operations in Colombia. We carried out economic and management restructuring strategies at both Emgesa and Codensa. We have grown in terms of power generation assets with, for example, the acquisition of the Cartagena plant and the merger with Betania, among others. We have ongoing plans to expand our power generation portfolio with projects such as the expansion of Salaco to 144 MW. We expect that over the next two years we will reach 3,500 MW of installed capacity. In the distribution field, we have a similar story; we could increase our customer portfolio to more than 700,000 people, and today we have around 2.7 million customers in Colombia.


Juan Esteban Calle Restrepo

CEO, Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM)

I strongly believe in the gas sector as part of the company's commitment to environmental responsibility. We want to be the leaders of environmental responsibility in Colombia. We have a plan to strengthen natural gas as an alternative for sustainable transportation. We believe that natural gas is the best and cleanest fuel available. EPM has an advantage in Medellín, which is the only city in Colombia where the mass transportation articulated bus system is fueled by natural gas. This is a good start. At EPM, we have a large fleet of vehicles that we plan to convert to natural gas as well. At the moment, about 40% of our fleet runs on natural gas, so we plan to lead by example. Medellín will be a precursor for natural gas, and I'm sure that we will be leaders in that regard. Our proprietary network of gas stations will help many corporate clients and people to feel comfortable converting their vehicles.


Luis Fernando Rico Pinzón

CEO, ISAGEN

Colombia requires three elements in order to become an energy power. The first is natural resources, which is something the country has in huge quantities. Colombia has large amounts of hydrocarbons and alternative energy sources able to produce electricity, such as water, solar, wind, and geothermal. The country possesses huge potential in the renewable energy industry, and only Brazil has an amount of natural resources at a similar level. Secondly, I believe that Colombia has a very skilled and professional workforce to satisfy the sector's current needs. Thirdly, we need to upgrade the regulatory framework for the renewable energy industry, especially within the electricity generation segment. Colombia has achieved many important things since 1995, when the country adopted market-oriented reforms, with the government leaving regulatory issues to an independent body.


ADVERTISEMENT