Energy transmission and telecommunications network
Colombia is rolling out a strong telecommunications and electricity transmission network across the country which currently consists of over 26,901 km of electricity transmission lines and 20,000 km of fiber-optic cable. Current coverage in the country is about 60%, so there are very specific plans in place to provide cutting-edge technology services and achieve total coverage through private investment.
Why invest in Colombia’s electricity and telecommunications sector?
Recent investment in Colombia’s electricity grid
To ensure a high-quality, reliable, and safe electricity service, 19 transmission projects became operational in 2019, with investments of more than USD 291 million. Twenty-one transmission projects are currently underway, a USD 2.117 billion investment. In 2020, the Mining and Energy Planning Unit (UPME, as per its Spanish acronym) will open 11 public calls for tender, seven of which will increase the system’s reliability and the remaining four are aimed to make operations more flexible.
Main source of opportunity for investment in electricity transmission networks
The national electric grid (SIN, as per its Spanish acronym) connects 48% of Colombia and 97% of the population. The disconnected areas (ZNI, as per its Spanish acronym) account for the remaining 52% of the territory, which comprise 17 departments, 97 municipalities, and 1.9 million people. There is an opportunity to connect the latter as well as the renewable energy projects carried out to the national electric grid.
Colombian telecoms network features
Colombia has a 20,000 km fiber-optic network - the largest in Latin America – and is moving towards the digital era by connecting over 1,075 out of 1,123 municipalities in the country.
Performance of foreign direct investment in the telecommunications sector
Between 2003 and 2018, Colombia received USD 6.466 billion in foreign direct investment allocated to 92 projects in the telecommunications sector, which generated 7,290 jobs.
Current private sector initiatives for foreign investment in the telecommunications sector
The Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MinTIC) held a multi-band spectrum auction which included the 700 MHz, 1.9GHz, and 2.5GHz bands, and also passed the resolutions to issue spectrum block licenses to operators such as Claro, Tigo, and Partners. These companies are under the obligation to install infrastructure to provide mobile service coverage for over 3,600 locations prioritized by MinTIC.
Investment opportunities in the electricity transmission and telecommunications sector:
Colombia is preparing to launch a call for tender for energy storage projects in the Caribbean region. In order to be awarded the project, the investor will have to meet all the specifications and technical requirements for the project and show the Lowest Expected Annual Income (IAE, as per its Spanish acronym) during the payment period. The public call for tender will be opened under the comprehensive project modality, that is, the investor will complete the project at its own expense and risk. Project specifications are as follows:
- Battery system with a maximum capacity of 45 MW and minimum delivery time of one (1) hour, connected to the Silencio 110 kV substation and for the purpose of operating under N-1 contingencies.
- A 110 kV bay in the Silencio 110 kV substation.
- Control and communications system to monitor the Battery Energy Storage System (SAEB, as per its Spanish acronym) from the National Dispatch Center (CND).
- All electrical, structural, physical, and mechanical components and adjustments.