Colombia will promote investment in non-conventional renewable energy sources and lay the groundwork for its first geothermal project with a $2.7 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) administered by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Colombia, which currently obtains up to 70 percent of its electricity from hydraulic sources, has yet to tap its potentially vast geothermal resources, which would allow it to harness the virtually unlimited heat from the Earth’s core. Geothermal power generation produces less waste and pollution than conventional resources such as coal or oil but with high upfront development costs.
The IDB, which has nearly three decades of experience with geothermal projects, is encouraging countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to develop alternative low-carbon energy sources to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. This part of the project, which will be executed by Colombia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy’s Planning Unit, will also update the country’s database of information on available non-conventional renewable energy resources.
A second component, to be carried out by ISAGEN, a Colombian public-private utility company, will focus on the technical, environmental and social studies required to assess and validate the geothermal potential in the sites of the Macizo Volcanico del Ruiz, a volcanic massif in Colombia’s central mountain range.