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    Guajira 1, Colombia's largest wind farm, begins operations


    January 22, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras

     

      In the department of La Guajira, exactly in the village of Cabo de la Vela, between the desert and the Caribbean Sea, the National Government yesterday inaugurated Guajira 1, the second wind farm to be built in Colombia and the largest in the entire national territory.

      After 17 years since Jepírachi, the first wind farm in the country owned by Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM), came into operation, Guajira 1 -built by Isagén- becomes a milestone given its characteristics: it has 10 wind turbines in an area of 5.5 hectares, has an installed capacity of 20 MW (megawatts), which is equal to the energy consumption of 33,295 families, and is the first of the 14 wind farms that will be built in the next three years in Colombia.

      A milestone in renewables

      According to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, this wind project could be carried out thanks to fiscal and tax incentives and a policy promoted by the National Government aimed at encouraging the development of initiatives that help the country migrate towards a cleaner energy matrix.

      Guajira I had an investment of $75,000 million and generated, according to MinEnergía, more than 50 jobs that benefited the inhabitants of the area of influence of the wind farm, among which are the Lanshalia, Taruasaru and Mushalerrain communities.

      "Guajira I is one of the great milestones of the energy transition, as the first wind farm to be built in the country in 17 years. La Guajira is the epicenter of the energy transition in Colombia, since the department has a world-class wind regime," said the Minister of Mines and Energy, Diego Mesa Puyo.

      And he added that last year the country managed to increase the installed capacity of renewable energies by 25 times, compared to what it had in August 2018. Likewise, the head of the energy portfolio indicated that he projects for the closing of the Government to leave ready projects that will increase this installed capacity by 100 times.

      It should be recalled that in addition to Guajira I, Isagen is also developing two other wind projects located in this region: Wesp 01 (12 MW), in Uribia, and Guajira II (300 MW), in Maicao, which already has an environmental license.

      Challenges in renewables

      For Clara Inés Pardo, professor at the School of Administration of Universidad el Rosario and expert in the mining and energy sector, the entry into operation of this wind farm is important to the extent that it generates confidence to continue on the path of electricity production through renewable energies, which are a natural asset of the country given its geographical position and climatic conditions.

      However, for the specialist, some of the main barriers that renewables still have are the costs required for the implementation of the infrastructure, since this involves making adaptations, equipment and purchase of technology to have the energy source.

      "It is necessary to generate a business environment conducive to the investment and development of this type of energy, as well as to promote a culture that favors the use of these energies in the business sector and by the end consumer," said Pardo.

      On the other hand, cultural rejection or social acceptance have also been some of the barriers identified in the entry of renewable energies into the Colombian energy market. (See To learn more).

      Santiago Ortega, Innovation Director of the company Emergente Energía Sostenible, expressed that, as La Guajira is a territory inhabited by different indigenous communities, the country faces great challenges in terms of social management and negotiation needs for the development of projects bordering with them.

      Regarding this, in a past interview with this newspaper, Minister Mesa Puyo acknowledged that this has been one of the main challenges, since most of these projects, and especially the transmission lines, which are those that connect the energy with the rest of the national interconnected system, require prior consultation because they pass through ethnic communities.

      "More and more the communities have realized that these are economic and social opportunities for the department, because jobs are coming, in addition to investments in communication and port roads and electrification projects, because La Guajira, despite its potential, has a very large deficit in electricity coverage," Mesa Puyo emphasized.

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