February 1, 2019 / 7:15 PM / in 6 months

Colombia gets bids from 27 companies in renewable energy tender: minister

FILE PHOTO: Colombia's Mines and Energy Minister Maria Fernanda Suarez, speaks at a news conference in Bogota, Colombia February 1, 2019. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia has received bids from more than two dozen companies that want to participate in the country’s first-ever tender of renewable energy projects, the energy minister said on Friday.

The tender is part of the Andean nation’s efforts to expand and diversify its electrical energy provision. Some 70 percent of Colombia’s electricity is generated with hydropower.

Bidding for 22 different solar, wind and biomass projects will take place on Feb. 26. Twenty-seven local and multinational companies are set to participate, Mines and Energy Minister Maria Fernanda Suarez told journalists, though she declined to name them.

“Our goal with the first tender is to get to 500 megawatts of installed capacity from non-conventional sources,” she said. “But the bids that we got represent 1,500 megawatts.”

“It’s undoubtedly a very good step to show the potential that Colombia has in this type of energy,” Suarez said.

The projects are expected to begin electricity production in 2021.

The government wants to have the capacity to generate 1,500 megawatts of electricity from renewable sources within four years, up from the current capacity of 50 megawatts.

Besides hydropower, some 20 percent of the country’s electricity currently comes from gas and liquid fuel, some 8 percent from coal and just 2 percent from renewables.

Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Helen Murphy and Alistair Bell

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