The company EDF Renewables announced that it is withdrawing from a solar energy project in Girardot, Cundinamarca, in which it had been participating since 2021.
The reasons that led to the departure were the “significant delays in environmental permits and licenses by local entities” that caused the French company to exit “from energy development at the Girardot energy plant, Cundinamarca,” according to a press release and an interview published by Snail Radio.
EDF Renewables was part of the initiative that seeks to promote the development of clean energy projects in Colombia from 2021, after “it won the long-term energy auction promoted by the Government for the realization of two major solar energy projects for 145 MWP”, as the document indicates. This corporation was awarded the award due to the “competitive price, directly favoring the end user, and the diversification of the national energy matrix”.
The circumstances have also been a consequence “of regulatory and fiscal changes that have occurred since the auction” in which the Girardot project was awarded to the European corporation. An example of these changes, according to the statement, was “the tax reform that impacted the profitability of the projects and the benefits of Law 1715 to promote renewable energies.” In the same way, in a more global context of the economy in which there were “rises in interest rates and the volatility of the exchange rate”, issues that meant that the process became even more difficult.
In interview with Snail Radiogeneral manager Elodie Sangalli confirmed it: “We were awarded in an auction process in 2021 and were waiting for the environmental license in December of that year, we received the license three year later We were awarded in an auction process in 2021 and were waiting for the environmental license In December of that year, we received the license, three years later, in June 2023 and “Since August, we have again come up with conditions that do not allow us to start the construction of the project.”
The document also explains that, although on September 8, 2023, the Council of State annulled the regulatory framework of the auction because it was considered unconstitutional, the same Government resolved to give the order to “execute the guarantees of putting the project into operation for a amount of more than 4,600 million pesos”, not considering the communications and the “efforts to prevent this from happening”.
Added to this, The central point of the withdrawal of the French energy company was “the failure to grant permits and licenses by the regional corporation, which failed to comply with the deadlines established in Decree 1076 of 2015.″the statement stated.
For her part, the Minister of the Environment, Susana Muhamad, “regretted the decision. She also, in an interview with Caracol, guaranteed that they are “working in the ANLA, (…) however the autonomous corporations (CAR) have had a process of lag and lack of clarity in the procedures.” Right there, she called on “companies, the ministry has its doors open to work hand in hand with you in, precisely, attention to those environmental procedures that may be stopped, especially for energy processes.”
Along the same lines, she expressed herself about a bill that will be brought to Congress with the purpose of “expediting the environmental licensing procedures for renewable energy projects,” the official concluded, while reiterating the “regrettable” nature of the situation and sent a message that from his office “they would like to move forward better.”