Hydrogen Could Drive Investments of Up to $5.5 Billion by 2030 in Colombia

By April 15, 2024 7   min read  (1349 words)

April 15, 2024 |

Hydrogen could drive investments of up to 5.5 billion by 2030 in Colombia

The country, which currently consumes around 150 kilotonnes of hydrogen per year, is in a unique position to increase its production and become a major player in the global market.

Hydrogen is one of the greatest hopes for clean energy. The president of the Colombian Hydrogen Association, Mónica Gasca, an economist with a master’s degree in public policy and more than nine years of experience in renewable energies and energy transition, spoke to SEMANA about the enormous challenges that the country has in this area.

By 2050, to achieve climate goals, it would be necessary to increase the production of clean hydrogen by almost 20 percent, is it feasible?

MÓNICA GASCA ROJAS: Well, to meet the 2050 targets, hydrogen is going to contribute 12% of that emissions reduction we need. It is feasible if we start taking action now. We want to promote green hydrogen, which is clean.

We have other types of low-emission hydrogens that will contribute less, because the idea is to decarbonize. Green hydrogen goes hand in hand with the production of renewable energy and the expansion of the electricity system.

So, whenever we talk about meeting that goal, we have to talk about expanding our electric system in generation and transmission. Yes, it is possible, but we have to make every effort to develop the projects.

Sometimes we talk a lot about studies, meetings, webinars, but now we have to do the next step and do those projects.

To what extent would this have both positive and negative repercussions on the environment?

M.G.R.: It’s really positive, because we’re going to stop using other fuels like natural gas, coal, fossil fuels in industries that send a lot of energy. For example, the steel production industry, long-distance transport, aviation, maritime transport, heavy cargo transport, also long-distance transport.

So that’s where we’re going to reduce carbon emissions. What we have to do is always have sustainability criteria for the production of hydrogen fuel.

And economically speaking, what are those challenges?

M.G.R.: It is also very positive because, for example, for countries like Colombia, where almost half of the export matrix is oil and coal, we will also be able to make an economic transition.

We’re going to export fuels, but now they’re going to be clean fuels. What we have to do is to have the production, to decarbonize our local industry, because it is also important that we internally begin to have a cleaner industry, but we export to those other countries, such as Germany, which have very broad climate change goals and that really do not have the resources or the land to have these hero projects and produce locally.

What challenges, specifically speaking in Latin America, do you see as major at the moment?

M.G.R.: The biggest challenge right now is to start doing the projects. Because there are many plans, but few projects that have reached a final investment decision, more or less 10% of the projects that are planned.

What do we need? Include communities from the beginning so that projects are developed efficiently? There are projects that take time to get to their construction and that makes the investment go to other countries where it is built a little faster.

M.G.R.: In Colombia, we must call on communities to work together between the private and public sectors, so that projects are developed quickly. We are a country that is very attractive for investors, but we also have other countries in the region, Chile, Brazil, that are very attractive, that are moving fast and if we fall asleep, investment will go the other way.

Have you seen any contribution or any significant change since we have been in the current government?

M.G.R.: We have had a fairly stable energy transition process as a country. We have already talked about renewable energies since 2014, in the previous government we had the launch of the roadmap, this government has complemented what we have of the roadmap and has also given positive signals to implement green hydrogen.

It is very important that we say that we get away from the subject of governments a little and start talking about hydrogen as a State policy, which leads to being a success of continuity and that they are so large in capital investment and so long-term, because they are projects that are going to produce in 20, 30 years, they need that stability.

I think Colombia is doing very well with the policies we have issued. Now it’s up to us to take the next step in regulation for the sectors.

If you had to ask the government for something specific in order to achieve these times and the objectives you have planned for the future, what would you ask for?

M.G.R.: Well, God’s child list. Here, we would like to have a financing fund for hydrogen projects. We are working on this with the European Union. The Ministry of Mines and Energy has been part of this process.

Now it’s time for the state to back that fund. They did that in Chile and it worked very well. Chile already has $1 billion in a fund to leverage hydrogen projects. The first issue is financing.

The second issue is incentives for the industry. We also want to promote our sustainable local industry. But there is a differential between the price of green hydrogen, which is clean, and the price of grey or blue hydrogen, which is dirty, which needs to be covered.

And that’s where we have to analyze the incentives that we should give in the country and what those industries are. From the association we will have a study with the European Union on this and the idea is that later the Government can use it and obtain benefits or incentives for some industries that we want to promote, that are sustainable.

And the third issue is regulation. Above all, we need a regulatory system for some of the projects, which is a place where one can play around with regulation a little bit, first testing, let’s say, technologies, before asking for specific regulation.

There are hydrogen projects that want to make blends with natural gas and those projects need that type of space to look at how far I can go with the mixture, how I am going to be paid for that mixture and what other type of regulation I should have.

To what extent do you think it is important for those who are not related to the subject to know about it?

M.G.R.: We will be able to have hydrogen stoves, because it is like natural gas, the only difference is that it has no missions. So, everyone needs to start knowing that in the future we are not really going to use natural gas, liquid fuels, but we are going to have hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives, which can even be synthetic fuels.

With hydrogen, I can make natural gas without emissions, or I can make gasoline without emissions, and that’s where we’re going. Obviously, this is a transition that takes time, but we need to be well informed.

Another very important issue is communities. Just like when we started with renewable energy, all of a sudden it took us a little while to get to the community, to tell them, this is renewable energy, now we have the opportunity to get it right and do it from the beginning, and start telling communities, this is the next step.

From the partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank we are planning to do a training, for example, in the area of La Guajira, in Huayunayqui so that the communities begin to understand what hydrogen is and why the importance of doing it in our country.

SOURCE: Semana

Original Article in Spanish: En Colombia, el hidrogeno podría impulsar inversiones de hasta 5.500 millones de dólares para 2030 (

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