XM: Low Rainfall This Year Hurts Hydropower Output; Conservation Seen Likely
Medellin-based XM – operator of Colombia’s national electric power dispatch-and-trading market – on May 14 announced that relatively low rainfall this year might require Colombians to take steps to conserve water and power consumption.
“Although it is true that the country’s [hydropower dam] reservoirs are at historic minimum levels, the Colombian energy matrix has 17.5-gigawatts [GW] of installed capacity, of which 11-GW is hydraulic [hydropower], 5.1 GW-thermal [natural gas, oil and coal-fired], and the rest, approximately 1-GW, corresponds to smaller plants,” stated Jaime Alejandro Zapata Uribe, XM’s national dispatch center manager.
“This means that our matrix has a hydro and thermal [compensatory] composition that is complemented by low hydrological events.
“For the summer season of 2020-2021, it is necessary to carry out a permanent review of the evolution of contributions to the system, an adequate management of resources, monitor the evolution of demand and the different variables that allow us to attend in a reliable way the summer season. It also seems important to us to invite Colombians to make efficient use of energy and water consumption in their homes,” he said
According to XM, “in the short term, there are no risks in meeting demand. The reservoirs of the National Interconnected System [SIN] are at historic lows, due to the unusual reduction in rainfall.
“According to IDEAM [the national weather bureau] predictions, it is possible that in June and July 2020 there will be a deficit in water contributions to the system. There is uncertainty regarding the climatic conditions for the second semester and the summer 2020-2021.”
In the medium term – over the next two years — “there are no evident difficulties, under normal conditions, in the provision of [power] service,” according to XM.
“However, extreme conditions of dry hydrologies or other unexpected situations could lead the system to a risky condition for the provision of the service in the following summer of 2020-2021,” the company added.
“Thermal generation above last-year’s average could be required for prolonged periods, which would require adequate resource management and sector coordination to respond to situations of water supply deficits,” XM concluded.