Update on Connect 2022

Friday, June 13, 2014

Colombia’s Unit for Mining and Energy Planning (UPME) gave the presentation on the sidelines of the May 19-20 International Renewable Energy Forum in Cancún, Mexico, during a planning session for the next ECPA ministerial meeting.

An emblematic initiative in ECPA’s portfolio, Connect 2022 seeks to strengthen and support regional and binational efforts underway to take electricity to every corner of the hemisphere—particularly to the 30 million people in the region who do not have access to this basic, essential service. Colombia and the United States launched the initiative in March 2012, and the idea found broad regional support at the Sixth Summit of the Americas, held the following month in Cartagena, Colombia.

The ambitious undertaking aims to create opportunities to improve infrastructure, attract foreign investment, expand energy markets, reduce energy poverty, and ensure energy security. Developing an interconnected energy infrastructure will not only expand the electric grid but will also help reduce costs by making better use of the region’s energy potential and using renewable sources of energy, as well as increasing the efficiency, security, and reliability of energy systems.

In the briefing for government representatives attending the conference in Mexico, the Colombian energy agency noted that energy in general and Connect 2022 in particular have been among the issues included in an ongoing high-level dialogue between Colombia and the United States. The Colombian government invited other countries in the region to share leadership on this issue by establishing subregional blocs to carry out interconnection projects with nearby countries.

Along these lines, Colombia plans to focus on connecting its electric grid with Panama’s, while continuing to work on interconnection efforts with its neighbors to the south, within the Andean Electrical Integration System (SINEA). The United States, meanwhile, plans to work with the Caribbean countries on interconnection projects.

SINEA—made up of Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru—has been working in recent years to harmonize regulations and plan infrastructure to achieve integration of the electric grid. The countries are currently reviewing the results of the final phase of this planning process.

Colombia and Panama, meanwhile, have begun studying issues involving regulations and transmission capacity for an eventual interconnection project, which could be in operation by 2018.