Deadline for Colombian consulting contract for urban waste energy production closes

30 May 2018 3 min. read

The Colombian Mining and Energy Planning Unit has put out a call for a consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study on bio-gas and bio-methane energy production from urban waste. The deadline for applications was the 30th of May and the successful applicant will begin the $112,000 contract in June this year. 

Colombia is South America’s largest coal producer and has a heavy reliance on fossil fuels to meet its energy consumption demands. The country is also a large exporter of crude oil and natural gas. Whilst Colombia generates roughly 70% of its own energy consumption from hydroelectric power, the remaining 30% are hydrocarbons.  

The Andean nation’s Mining and Energy Planning Unit (UPME) has stated earlier this year its desire to “strengthen the resilience of the electricity generation matrix to events of variability and climate change through risk diversification.” 

Whilst Colombia has serious potential for renewable energies with solar and wind, the UPME has set a target to achieve 30% renewable energy by 2030. With less than 1% of the current energy make-up from non-conventional renewables – solar, wind, etc. – the country wants to diversify the energy matrix.

In March, the UPME signed a decree that aimed to attract renewable energy companies and projects throughout the country. By April, there had been just under 300 applications for hydroelectric, thermal and non-conventional renewables, with a majority of proposed projects being solar-based. 

As the country has both an abundance of sun and wind potential, it is natural that the majority of proposed projects are within these realms. However, the UPME has recently put out the call for a consulting firm to aid the production of the country’s biogas and bio-methane capabilities. 

Deadline for Colombian consulting contract for urban waste energy production closes

The process no. 300-2018 released by the government asks for parties to develop a model to establish the technical, environmental, financial and economic feasibility of energy generation from solid urban waste. 

The model should not be location dependent, so that it functions in multiple sectors and across different municipalities and regions throughout Colombia. It should also be replicable in the sense that it must work with different types of waste so that it can add value to Colombia’s energy matrix.

"Bioenergy represents a great opportunity for Colombia, specifically in regions such as Valle del Cauca, which with only 2% of the national territory is the country's main agroindustrial producer,” said Esteban Piedrahita, President of the Chamber of Commerce in Cali. 

Colombia was the first country in Latin America to implement an E-waste management policy and are now looking for a viable way to transform their waste sector. Looking towards leaders in the field, it is possible to generate energy from upwards of 50% of urban household waste. After combustion, leftover ashes and metals can be separated and reused in new projects and as gravel for roads. 

The Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy is paving the way both practically and legislatively for the transition and production of energy from urban waste. “The Ministry of Mines and Energy, for its part, will coordinate the measures necessary for the energy recovery of unusable waste, both at the level of the private energy sector and with the Ministry of Housing, City and Territory, in order to guarantee the activities required to obtain the raw material from the public waste service.”

The call by the government has been apparently met by an international consulting firm, however details of the selection are yet to be made public.