A new law in Colombia seeks to encourage the investment, research, and development of renewable energy in the country.
Law 1715, signed into effect Tuesday by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, is intended to foster partnerships between the national government, the private sector, and local authorities by facilitating the penetration of clean energy that meets a criteria of social, economic, and environmental sustainability, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Mining and Energy.
“Less contamination and greater efficiency is the goal of this law,” said Energy Minister Amylkar Acosta, adding that “renewable energy is being declared a topic of public utility, social interest, and national benefit, given the substantial advantage of these non-conventional energy sources to protect the environment and also in terms of energy efficiency.”
As a result of the new measure, the national government will establish a program to progressively substitute diesel energy in “non-interconnected zones” with the goal of reducing costs and pollution in remote parts of the country currently dependent on the heavy fossil fuel for power, according to the Ministry of Energy. The law will explore the possibility of wind, solar, and geothermal energy projects as an alternative to diesel in these areas.
In addition, a fund for “non-conventional” energy and efficient energy management will be created to finance green energy projects. Agricultural and forest biomass, along with solid waste not being recycled, will reportedly be considered as part of new energy plans for the country.
According to the Portafolio newspaper, some incentives outlined by the law include:
- People who declare assets of renewable energy can, for five years after their investment, reduce their payment of taxes on said investments by 50%
- Materials bought for renewable energy projects will not have to pay the national value added tax of 16%
- Materials and labor that will have to be imported for renewable energy projects will not have to pay tariffs
- Access to a public and private fund to finance projects
President Santos also announced on Tuesday, a $400 million investment to improve the electricity infrastructure and distribution on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Santos said in a statement that “the $400 million dollar is to make investments in a speedy manner that will permit us to move forward all projects of energy generation so that there is sufficient supply.”
Minister of Energy Amylkar Acosta detailed that projects will be able to begin in 2016 thanks to the $400 million financing.
Colombia has made strides recently toward using greener energy sources, including investments in various large-scale hydroelectric projects that, though controversial due to the at times devastating human impacts they carry for neighboring communities, could service a large bulk of the country’s energy needs.
This latest law hopes to remove some of the remaining economic and legal barriers to a more environmentally friendly energy matrix, according to the government. Today, Colombia’s energy comes mostly from hydropower, coal, and gas.
- Gobierno nacional sanciona ley que incentiva el uso de energías renovables (Ministerio de Minas y Energía)
- Colombia, con marco legal para energías alternativas (Portfolio)
- Presidente Santos anuncia recursos por cerca de 400 millones de dólares para ejecutar proyectos de energía en la Costa Caribe (Presidencia)