Colombia is introducing legislation on energy efficiency to complement its low-emissions plan that aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and create green growth alternatives.
The Colombian Congress has just passed a law to promote not only renewable energy sources but also energy efficiency and demand response, according to Deputy Energy Minister Orlando Enrique Cabrales Segovia.
“This new law acknowledges that energy efficiency is an essential tool for sustainable development. Recent data show that energy efficiency measures have been more effective in reducing CO2 emissions than the introduction of renewables,” said Cabrales.
Colombia today might account for just 0.37% of global emissions but predictions indicate that this will increase by 50% by 2040 if nothing is done.
“We have put together a plan to reduce by 30% the estimated increase by 2040,” he said.
Bogota's new legislation also introduces tax incentives to promote clean energy and energy efficiency.
There will be no VAT or customs duties payable for importing equipment not manufactured in the country.
Also, 50% of investments made in energy efficiency and clean energy ventures can be adopted in income tax statements, the minister told a round-table discussion entitled 'Where are we now in the climate change agenda?' at the 21st World Petroleum Congress in Moscow.
As part of its drive towards cleaner energy, Colombia is keen to establish a coalbed methane industry and eight blocks “with very good CBM potential” are being offered in this year's bid round.
“According to independent sources, Colombia [one of the world's top 10 coal exporters] has the largest CBM potential in Latin America. We need to capture the methane in our coal mines... methane emissions are at least 10 times more damaging to the environment than CO2 emissions,” said Cabrales.
As part of that drive, regulations are now being drafted to align gas and coal producers in Colombia.
Meantime, state-owned oil and gas company Ecopetrol has embarked on a pilot project to capture CO2 from the one of the main refineries in the country and inject the gas into a nearby oilfield to increase the crude recovery factor.
The three-year project envisages 13 wells, each of which will inject 2 million cubic feet per day of gas amounting to approximately of 20% of the total CO2 emissions coming from the refinery, said Cabrales.