News International Sugar Journal

Colombia – Policy incentives drives cogen output

The installed capacity of cogenerated power from biomass in Colombia grew from 114 MW to 215 MW in five years. Cogen output is expected to reach 360 MW by 2018, according to Asocaña (Association of Colombian sugarcane cultivators).

Asocaña notes that the expansion in output has been due to combination of: investment in equipment (new or enhancement of existing boilers and better use of steam) and public policies that incentivised the production of bioelectricity.

In 2014, a new law was created through which the integration of renewable energy in the National Energy System was regulated. With this law, the Conservation and Efficient Use of Energy and Unconventional Sources Program was introduced, the Proure, which provides tax incentives on income and tax breaks for energy efficiency projects in the industrial sector. Those who meet the program requirements have tax exemption when importing equipment in Colombia. And those who produce cogenerate power from renewable sources, such as bagasse, are entitled to the accelerated depreciation on their investments.

Colombia currently grows and processes about 24 million tons of sugarcane annually. From this cane, over 2 million tonnes of sugar and more than 400 million liters of ethanol are produced. Sugarcane cultivation occupies 205,000 hectares which supply thirteen plants. As the weather in Colombia allows the crop to be harvested throughout the year, cane is milled cane for about 330 days per year on average.