Colombia enters age of wind power in La Guajira

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A sprawling wind farm hedged by cacti and free-roaming goats was inaugurated Friday by President Iván Duque, and the country’s largest alternative energy project is nearly two decades. Located at the northern tip of Colombia, in the arid peninsula of La Guajira, Guajira 1 was developed by the private utility company ISAGEN, with an investment of more than US$19 million and will generate 20MV with its 10 Vesta turbines.

Framed by the permanent blue skies of the department, and caressed by the incessant winds of the Caribbean, the 5.5-hectare complex is the first of 16 wind farms that will be operational in 2022, initiating in the words of President Duque “an energy revolution that includes solar farms and other non-conventional renewables.” President Duque took advantage of the inauguration to refer to the upcoming presidential election on May 29, stating: “the best wind is that Colombia never falls into the clutches of populism and demagoguery, which wants to sow hatred and destroy. Here we want to build, all of us, with a single purpose of a nation.”

Guajira 1 will substitute the electricity consumption of more than 33,000 households in one of the country’s most impoverished departments. The national government’s Guajira Azul program has invested more than US$3.3 billion in upgrading the department’s road infrastructure and expanding water coverage, as well as accessibility to some of the most remote communities. The last wind farm to be inaugurated in the country was the Jepírachi project located close to Guajira 1.  Built in 2004, Jepírachi generates 19MW and is operated by Medellín’s EPM.