As Glencore leaves Colombia, the country starts its energy transition

(Reference image from Pxhere, CC0).

Colombia’s Ministry of Energy and Mines announced a new project that aims at taking news steps towards decarbonizing the country’s electrical grid.

Through its Mining-Energy Planning Unit, the Ministry released a call for proposals to create the country’s first battery storage system, which should have a capacity of 45 MWh and would be installed in the northern Atlántico Department.

In detail, the system would be located in the city of Barranquilla and the idea is that it provides electricity for at least one hour when the department’s electrical grid fails.

The call for proposals for the battery storage system was made in the same week Glencore said it will hand its coal mining contracts back to the Republic of Colombia

“This particular project seeks to avoid having to resort to generating electricity locally and forcibly – which can be more expensive- when transmission lines fail,” the Planning Unit said in a media statement

According to the government office, this is the first call for proposals of this kind both in Colombia and in Latin America.

Although initially the energy storage system would be connected to the existing 34.5-kV-El Silencio substation, the idea is that eventually it is used to store the power produced by some wind and solar projects that have already been planned and that are to generate 2500 MW of electricity per year.

The government’s call for proposals was presented in the same week that Glencore (LON: GLEN) announced that its Colombian unit will hand its mining contracts back to the Republic of Colombia.

According to the miner and commodities trader, a review found that its two coal mines in the South American country, Cerrejón and Calenturitas, were uneconomic to recommence operations.

Glencore said its subsidiary Prodeco has already started the voluntary redundancy program and its mines will remain on care and maintenance until the formal process of relinquishing the contracts is completed.

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