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Development of Biogas in Colombia: Phase 1 Legislation

Currently this is the ideal time to promote the progression of biogas for urban utilization in Colombia. Global power markets are in favor of sustainable infrastructure, with trends that suggest a permanent shift towards natural gas and renewable. An indication of this shift is the growth of electrification of the world’s secondary energy supply, and the digitalization of the grid. 


Energy is required for all sectors of an economy, and reliable energy promotes economic and social development by promoting productivity and facilitates income generation. In 2013 the Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report (EAPI) was created as a tool for decision-makers to understand energy systems and assess the current energy architecture performance of 127 countries with the objective to move towards a more sustainable, affordable and secure energy system. This tool will aid in policy formation by providing a reliable indicator of strengths and target areas of improvement. 


In 2017, Colombia ranked 8th on the index, but still has room for improvement through three principles by: 


  1. Framing the long term vision for the energy sector and committing to it to provide continuity across time frames. This will allow flexibility to adapt to changing energy sector realities, new technologies, and unforeseen obstacles.

  2.  Co-designing policies. Creating policies that enable solutions that best suit Colombia, for innovation to flourish by providing flexibility for the most appropriate technologies to emerge organically. 

  3.  Steward investment. The stability of a committed long term vision will establish investor confidence and the private sector investment needs stewardship to guarantee it is focused on the development of renewable energy. 



The first principle of a long term vision for the energy sector has been established with the creation of the 0570 Decree on March 23rd, 2018. This sets the guidelines to contract long term projects for the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources. It has the objective to strengthen, diversify and complement the energy generation matrix for effective pricing and the capitalization of renewable resources. Thanks to the implementation of this decree, biogas can be implemented in an urban setting.


For the co-designing policies principal, Bogota would be a perfect setting for policy design for the implementation of biogas. It would start from the macro (the city’s perspective) to the micro (the locality’s perspective).


 The Mayor’s Office of the city of Bogota has the ability to implement policies and strategies that allows the development of biogas. Bogota’s recent 2016-2020 development plan focuses on integral interventions for the development, recuperation, betterment and transformation of the city and its surroundings. Biogas implementation complies with the three objectives of the plan:


1.      It creates a better quality of life by reducing sanitation issues and contamination in the area, by improving health, creating opportunities for technical education and social integration.


2.      It creates an opportunity for urban democracy with better habitat and environment, through the involvement of the community in the construction of the project.


3.      It creates an opportunity for the construction of a community with security in using the energy produced by the area for street lighting and creates a dialogue with local government with a culture of participation with the involvement of the community in every step of the way.


Also, the municipality’s involvement would give them the understanding of the opportunities to reduce municipal costs with reduced sanitation issues, maintenance and the production of urban lighting. 


The Local Mayor’s Office of Ciudad Bolivar, the 19th locality of Bogota,  is an essential partner for the regulation of biogas. It has the objective to orient and lead the formulation and implementation of policies for the locality. The localities of Bogota are divided into UPZs, which are Units of Zonal Planning and Ciudad Bolivar has 8. These UPZ’s are a planning tool that serves as the main planning regulations for the area. An addendum can be done for these regulations to include anaerobic digesters. 


And finally, for the third principle of stewardship investment, needs to be overseen by two major national institutions: 


  • The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, which is in charge of formulating, implementing and orienting environmental policy to ensure the sustainable development of Colombia. It can determine the success or failure of biogas in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a program called REDD+. It monitors the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and controls detailed reliable data that guarantee the success of emission reduction of a project. 
  • The Ministry of Mines and Energy regulates the energy sector of Colombia.
Niyireth  Torres's picture

Thank Niyireth for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 21, 2019 8:45 pm GMT

 It creates a better quality of life by reducing sanitation issues and contamination in the area, by improving health, creating opportunities for technical education and social integration.

I'd love to read more about how biogas accomplishes these goals-- do you have any resources you'd recommend, Niyireth?

Niyireth  Torres's picture
Niyireth Torres on Aug 23, 2019 6:10 pm GMT

There case studies such as:

the Indo-Swedish collaboration

the website has multiple case studies from Nepal to Switzerland.

There is a biogas project from the World Bank that focuses on  gender energy use and how woman are more likely to favor renewable energy

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 23, 2019 7:58 pm GMT

Great-- thanks for the follow up, Niyeireth!

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