Colombia awards contracts for 11 solar projects

·2 min read

BOGOTA, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Colombia has awarded 11 new large-scale solar projects expected to bring investment of some 3.3 trillion pesos ($875 million) and enter operation in early 2023, the government said, as part of its efforts to promote use of renewable energy.

The projects awarded to nine companies will generate a total of 796.3 megawatts, Mines and Energy Minister Diego Mesa said following the auction, which finished late on Tuesday.

Fifteen-year contracts were awarded to successful companies, including to new entrants to the South American country such as France's EDF, the UK's TW Solar, Canadian Solar , and two Spanish businesses, Solarpack and Energen, the minister added.

Some 15% of Colombia's energy matrix will come from non-conventional renewable sources - such as solar, wind and biomass - by 2023, Mesa said.

The projects will be located in nine of Colombia's 32 provinces, create some 4,700 jobs and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 465,000 tonnes a year, Mesa said.

Colombia is targeting a 51% cut in CO2 emissions by 2030, a commitment President Ivan Duque has repeatedly touted as he seeks to shore up his administration's environmental legacy before he leaves office next year.

Duque's government says energy sources like solar and wave power will ensure a more resilient energy supply for the country and fight climate change.

The government also plans to launch projects to produce hydrogen as a long-term clean energy source.

Colombia's energy matrix is one of the greenest in the world.

Its power supply has a 17,349.6 mega-watt capacity, of which more than two-thirds come from hydroelectric sources, while 30.7% is thermal, according to the Association of Colombian Electricity Generators. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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