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Bogota’s Waste to Resource Journey: Phase 5: Implementation 

Niyireth Torres's picture
urban Planner Renewable energy enthusiast

I help cities, towns, and communities achieve sustainable practices by providing strategic planning using my knowledge of green building practices, renewable energy, architecture, and the retail...

  • Member since 2019
  • 20 items added with 13,626 views
  • May 26, 2021

Environmentally sustainable resources from renewable energies are not implemented or utilized in a widely commercialized way in Colombia. For this to change, the Ministry of Mines and Energy composed the Law 1715 of 2014, created to regulate the integration of non-conventional renewable energy to the National Energetic System, orient public policies, and incentivize investment investigation and development. This law aims to diversify the current electrical system, invest in renewable energy, reduce environmental impact, and stimulate the economy.


This law is used as a basis to maximize biogas in an urban setting by establishing public policies. The regulation and planning process for biogas has to respond to changes in the city at a local and regional level. It means guidelines for renewable energy on three scales:



It consists of Territorial Arrangement Plan (POT) and Master Plans. Development of plans is a comprehensive planning process that determines community goals aspirations in community development for the current and long term. It expresses and regulates public policies on transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, and housing. In generating regulations for renewables, such as biogas, eight interdependent planning steps are followed. The order is revised depending on the project. The steps are:


  • Collecting data: Observing and collecting the prototype data for a 1 to 5 year period to evaluate the current conditions and predict a future outcome. 

  • Identifying issues: In this step, identifying problems and difficulties of the technology, manufacturer, workers, or users is crucial to be addressed and put a failsafe in place if future issues emerge. An example of this is there is no widespread use of biogas technology, so a possible solution for the initial implementation can be decentralization. 

  • Stating goals: Establishing goals for the technology for future innovation and advancement, prioritizing delivering energy or biogas to underserved communities at an affordable price, and creating job opportunities for the city. 

  • Preparing the plan: Establishing plans using collected data and the stated goals for biogas to implement them. 

  • Creating implementation plans: This step focuses on the cost and effectiveness of the plans. Multiple plans will result in this process to realize one goal. These plans are known as alternatives. 

  • Evaluating alternatives: Community leaders and industry stakeholders will assess each option to ensure the most efficient and cost-effective way to realize biogas goals. The positive and negative effects on the community, environment, and city government are weighed, and one is chosen that meets the objectives for biogas implementation. 

  • Adopting a plan: The plan turns into an official statement of policy taken into effect by the city council. The council can choose to adopt or not. That would require the draft to be refined. When accepted, it is a legal statement of community policy in regards to future development.

  • Implementing and monitoring the plan: The city planning staff are in charge of carrying out the goals, monitoring the outcomes, and proposing any changes needed for a non-desirable result. 


A master plan is not permanent, especially with the implementation of new renewable energy technology. As communities grow and adapt to recent advancements, it is revised multiple times. Every five to ten years, an update is crucial to reflect current necessities.



These consist of Zonal Arrangement Plans, Rural Planning Units (UPR), Partial Plans, and Zonal Planning Units (UPZ). These plans are for areas smaller than districts (or, in Bogota’s case, localities) and bigger than a neighborhood. A planning tool for developing a more detailed urban policy necessary for the city due to the significant differences between sectors. At this scale, it allows more investments in resources essential for the community. Consist of establishing:


  • The number of anaerobic digesters for this area.

  • The number of collection or dropoff areas for biodegradable waste.

  • Necessary infrastructure to receive sewage to be converted into gas or energy. 

  • Ease for gas or power as an end product. 



It consists of Partial Plans, Regularization Plans, Implementation Plans, and Environmental Mining Management Plans. It focuses on a neighborhood level, where policies determine necessary soil studies, land use, development, and environmental restrictions. At a local level, it would establish:


  • Specifications depending on soil type.

  • The critical distance of biogas infrastructure from particular hazardous land use. 

  • Avoiding environmental sensitive areas, such as near rivers or bodies of water. 


As a C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group member, Bogota focuses on tackling climate change by urging urban actions to reduce climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions and increase health, well-being, and economic opportunities for its residents. With clear city policies and regulations on implementing biogas, the city is on track to becoming a sustainable city.  



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