Celsia looks to boost clean power drive after standout 2023

Colombia-based Celsia Energia posted a strong year in the domestic power sector in 2023, as the portfolio company of Grupo Argos added solar capacity and commissioned a gas-fired plant, while it also entered the Peruvian power market. Celsia is engaged in power generation, transmission and energy commercialization and currently holds a portfolio of 1,756 megawatts (MW) of operational installed capacity and another 330 MW under development, with 100% of the total coming from clean sources. Celsia’s success in increasing its renewables fleet moving forward will be a significant contributor to Colombia’s official target of reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 51% by 2030.

Even though 74% of the Colombia’s generation last year came from hydropower, 23% of the mix came from fossil fuel-based generation, with coal representing 8% of the total. The increase in renewable capacity is key to displacing thermal dispatch and supporting Colombia’s commitment to reducing its emissions to 169.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Colombia’s share of global GHG emissions is 0.57%, and to reach its ambitions in 2030, the country submitted its revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in December 2020.

Hydro dominated Celsia’s generation portfolio
Power generation in Colombia last year totaled 80.6 terawatt-hours (TWh), with a generation mix that consisted 74% of hydro and 23% of thermal. Within Celsia’s portfolio of assets powering the generation sector in Colombia, the major source is hydro with a share of 60.2% and 981 MW of capacity. Hydro is followed by gas (377 MW) and solar (288.8 MW), with shares of 22.5% and 17.3%, respectively.

Most of the company’s assets are based around the northern and north-western regions of Colombia. The most relevant region in terms of operational capacity is Valle del Cauca, housing around 38.7% of Celsia’s total capacity. The company was the fifth-largest generator in Colombia in 2023, however it was the largest player in terms of solar generation, with nearly 250 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of output for the year. In addition to its generation fleet, Celsia has 17 transmission substations with 274 kilometers of transmission lines. When it comes to electricity distribution, it holds 183 substations with 46,000 kilometers of distribution lines.

Year in review
A highlight for Celsia in 2023 was the acquisition of the 218-MW Caraveli wind project in Peru, a deal valued at around $240 million and that marked the company’s entry to the Peruvian power market. Among other highlights, its 210-MW El Tesorito gas-fired plant achieved commissioning. Celsia was also one of the top solar developers in Colombia in terms of commissioned capacity, ending the year having added 120 MW of solar to its portfolio, taking the total close to 300 MW.  The standout asset, considering its installed capacity and total generation last year, was the 429-MW Alban hydro project, which consists of three units of the Alto Anchicaya hydro plant. Other top assets include the 315-MW Salvajina hydro project and the Tesorito gas plant.

Celsia plans to continue construction activities of its three wind projects this year – the 80-MW Acacias Project 2, the 250-MW Camelias project and the Caraveli project in Peru. Once the projects under development are fully online, the company will have 2,086 MW of installed capacity, with 30% coming from non-hydro renewable sources.


Smriteek Dash

Analyst, Renewables & Power Research

Muched Nassif

Senior Analyst, Renewables & Power Research

(The data and/or forecasts in this column are Rystad Energy’s, and the opinions are of the authors.)