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Colombia eyes a sustainable future with a $2.2 billion investment across 66 renewable energy projects despite facing significant challenges.

In a substantial boost to its green ambitions, Colombia is on the brink of a renewable energy revolution, with investments potentially reaching up to $2.2 billion in 2024. The renewable energy association SER Colombia unveiled on Thursday that 66 projects are poised to either commence production soon or are in the final stages of completing necessary paperwork.

This ambitious push aligns with President Gustavo Petro's strategic vision to pivot the nation, traditionally a major regional coal and oil producer, towards a more sustainable and less fossil-fuel-dependent future. The focus is on harnessing renewable sources like solar, wind, and geothermal energy.

However, the journey is not without its challenges. Notably, the implementation of some renewable initiatives, particularly onshore and offshore wind farms in the northern regions, has been impeded. Resistance from Indigenous communities and regulatory bottlenecks have emerged as significant obstacles.

"First of all, we have to be realistic and conscious that this process advances step by step," SER Colombia Chief Executive Alexandra Hernandez stated, acknowledging the incremental nature of this ambitious transition.

At the close of 2023, Colombia's portfolio of non-conventional renewable energy projects boasted an electricity capacity of 504 megawatts (MW). The coming year, 2024, is expected to be transformative, with a planned expansion of capacity by 1,240 MW across 22 projects. An additional 1,800 MW is on the horizon, pending approvals and administrative formalities, spread across 44 projects.

The report further detailed that the bulk of these projects, 65 in total, are geared towards solar energy, complemented by a singular project focusing on a battery energy storage system.

Despite the optimistic projections, Colombia's burgeoning renewable energy sector confronts considerable hurdles. Project execution times are notably lengthy, creating a ripple effect that complicates financing and dampens overall investment momentum. Small renewable energy projects, on average, take between three to six years to become operational. A significant portion of this duration, approximately 70%, is consumed by around 15 administrative processes.

The report underscores the urgency of streamlining these procedures, emphasizing that "Current entry times to start operating... are excessively large compared to the size and impact times of the projects."

As Colombia stands at the cusp of a major renewable energy expansion, the nation grapples with balancing ambitious sustainability goals against the practical challenges of project implementation and regulatory frameworks. The world watches as Colombia takes these calculated steps towards a greener, more sustainable future.

Samira is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, but deep inside, her heart is a nomad! She's a state champion debater, a public speaker, a scriptwriter, a theatre actress, but most importantly — A GREEN CITIZEN! She thinks of herself as a storyteller who thrives on enjoying the life at fullest and telling everyone the tales of life.

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