COLOMBIA - Green Economy
Executive Director , FENOGE
Juan Camilo Vallejo Lorza assumed the role of Executive Director of FENOGE in 2022. He was previously the environmental technical director of Corporación Autónoma Regional del Valle del Cauca – CVC. He has also held management positions in private and public-sector organizations such as Fundación PROAGUA and Energías Renovables y Eficientes del Valle del Cauca, among others. Vallejo is an environmental engineer from Los Andes University, a specialist in environmental law from the Universidad Externado, and holds an MBA from Universidad ICESI and Tulane University.
FENOGE is a fund that finances, manages, and executes plans, programs, and projects aligned with the purpose of improving energy efficiency and the use of non-conventional energy sources in the country. We are regulated by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and the resources are administered through a commercial trust contract, where the Fiduciary acts as the spokesperson of the autonomous patrimony. Our goal is to promote and encourage the transition toward a culture of rational, efficient, and sustainable use of energy, promoting good practices of electricity consumption with adequate facilities, small-scale self-generation solutions, studies, energy audits, and final disposal of replaced equipment, among others.
This is an exciting project that supports the connection of new generation parks with non-conventional energy sources, which will allow 15 wind and/or solar projects to contribute to the national grid. The power transmission line with HVDC technology, brand new to Colombia, will allow La Guajira to continue to position itself as a hub for electricity generation with non-conventional energy sources. The goal is to transport, safe, sustainable, and more efficient energy to rural areas of Colombia.
One cannot start working on non-conventional energy for self-generation without first assessing how efficient it is. Every industry that wants to become self-sufficient must first analyze its energy consumption and study how it can become efficient. Many industries do not yet realize how much energy can be saved, given that in Colombia right now, around 46% of energy generated is lost. As important as it is to work on diversifying the country’s energy matrix, it is also important to work on ensuring its energy distribution and consumption is more efficient.
We focus on solar and wind projects, and there is also a major opportunity in hydraulic generation. Rather than building a dam, we can place a generation turbine on water flows. There are some major opportunities, especially in the Pacific region, where there are many rivers with heavy currents. We can install small generating turbines that can provide the neighboring communities with an alternative for diesel generation.
For the last five years, the Ministry of Mining and Energy has started the transition toward renewable energy. Since President Santos, Colombian governments have been promoting non-conventional and renewable energies in the country. One of the main indicators we use is GHGs to finance or determine projects; however, the main objective is promoting greater energy efficiency in different sectors of the country, including industry, public transportation, and commercial and residential users, and also non-conventional energy. We focus more on energy efficiency because it is less attractive for private capital. We can raise much more awareness among the general public about being more efficient and saving more money. This is the ideal time to do it because energy costs are increasing not only in Colombia, but all over the world.
We have three main priorities in Colombia. First, around 9% of people still cook with firewood, which emits a large amount of pollution and has a significant impact on their health. That is one of our major social projects. Second, we are investing around USD15 million on energy efficiency replacement in hospitals and schools as well as self-generation. This will not only have major social benefits but will also benefit all those companies that sell energy in that area. Finally, we have a major plan to reduce the energy costs of residential users in the Caribbean region, especially low-income users.