Bogotá — Viridi, a German company operating in 17 countries, has chosen Colombia as the hub for its Latin American operations. The company is gearing up to invest up to US$90 million in clean energy projects in 2024, with plans to coordinate its regional strategy from Colombia for potential investments in other countries.
Juan Poveda, Viridi’s Head of Sales and Project Development for Latin America, spoke with Bloomberg Línea, emphasizing the significance of 2023 as a pivotal year for the expansion of the company’s operations. He also anticipates that in 2024, Viridi will seek to consolidate deals to further expand its portfolio.
Looking ahead to the upcoming year, Poveda stated, “We have a plan for US$65 million in 2024, but it could be more. We’re in negotiations, and it depends on that, but it could reach US$80 million or US$90 million.” He also outlined plans for investments in Peru, mentioning a portfolio phase similar to what was done in Colombia in 2022 and this year. Poveda added that these projects in Peru should consolidate in the next two years and represent investments of around US$200 million.
In the Dominican Republic, a 50-megawatt project is slated for 2027, while in Mexico, a project requiring an investment of around US$120 million has already been constructed. Poveda explained that this funding package will focus on their two main projects in Santander and Norte de Santander, covering the Ruta del Sol from Barranca to San Alberto, with each project generating 48 megawatts.
Engaging with local communities
Despite challenges faced by companies like Enel Green Power in executing projects, Poveda noted that Viridi has not encountered issues with the communities where they operate. He highlighted the upcoming operational project, Caracolí I, and emphasized positive relationships with local communities.
Addressing challenges such as environmental bureaucracy, Poveda emphasized the need for improvement in administrative procedures with regional autonomous corporations, stating that it is a focal point for environmental public policy.
Viridi is also adapting to changes in rules, such as a tax reform that eliminated benefits for renewable energies in Colombia five years ago. Poveda acknowledged the impact on competitiveness and financial models but emphasized the continued demand for solar energy in the Colombian market, signaling a positive outlook for the long term.
In comparing Colombia with other countries in the region, Poveda believes that Colombia maintains positive possibilities for investment within Law 1715. While acknowledging Chile as having better conditions and maturity, he emphasized that Colombia still presents opportunities, as evidenced by significant requests for connections in the Mining and Energy Planning Unit (UPME), surpassing four times the installed capacity.