Colombia expands its renewable energy production

Porce III Hydroelectric Plant increases country’s installed generating capacity by 5%

Colombians will have greater access to clean energy as a result of the recent inauguration of the Porce III Hydroelectric Plant, which will add 660 megawatts to the country's energy matrix.

The plant, built with financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to Empresas Públicas de Medellín(EPM), will increase Colombia’s installed power generating capacity by 5% and position EPM as the largest power company in the country.

Some 3,780 direct and 9,450 indirect jobs were created during the plant’s construction, mostly by tapping the labor force in the project area.

Porce III, which will be EPM’s largest power generation plant, was built following a process of long-term planning in the use of water resources from the Porce River. The work was one of the four projects identified between 1974 and 1976 by the Colombian firm Technical Consultants in a study of the river’s hydroelectric potential.

The project is located in the area of the towns of Amalfi, Guadalupe Gómez Plata, and Anorí, 147 km northeast of the city of Medellín, in the department of Antioquia. The Porce River is a tributary of the Nechí, River, which in turn flows into the Cauca River.

The total cost of the project was US$1.3 nillion, including financial expenses, of which the Bank financed US$200 million. Construction of Porce III followed the highest environmental and social management standards.

EPM has operated and managed power generation plants for more than 50 years. It has built more than 20 power plants, the most of any Colombian company. Plants t run by PMA Group have a combined 2,919 megawatts of installed generating capacity, representing 21.6 percent of the total in the country.

The IDB’s 12 loans to Colombia’s energy sector, totaling US$1,287 million, have helped finance a large majority of the country’s hydroelectric plants, including Porce II, Porce III, and Chivor. The Bank has also financed national power interconnection programs that represent the equivalent of 35 percent of the regional interconnected system, in addition to rural electrification, energy efficiency programs, and renewable energy, among other activities.