Clean energy in Colombia: Jobs generated, lives saved, and emissions reduced

Clean energy in Colombia: Jobs generated, lives saved, and emissions reduced
By John Venezia
Jul 31, 2018
Energy efficiency improves people’s health and bottom line of cities, companies and households, a recent recent analyses reveals.

A USAID/Colombia program that concluded in 2017 saved manufacturing facilities hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to an assessment of the environmental benefits and cost savings associated with the project’s energy efficiency interventions.

The Colombia Clean Energy Program (CCEP) was a five-year USAID program (2012–2017) that supported a whole-of-government low-emission development program. One area of CCEP’s work was promoting investment in energy efficiency technologies by providing training, outreach, efficiency audits and analysis for energy efficiency improvement opportunities.

The program also supported the identification and implementation of energy efficiency improvements in industries including pulp and paper, steel, metallurgical, textile, chemical, agro-industrial, and food and beverage. Energy efficiency interventions such as those supported by CCEP can reduce production costs as well as environmental and human health impacts of manufacturing processes.

The Resources to Advance Low Emissions Development Strategies (LEDS) Implementation (RALI) team coordinated with CCEP to gather project data on energy and fuel savings from energy efficiency improvements at five facilities in the textile, chemical and food industries. Using the Clean Energy Emission Reduction (CLEER) Tool, which is designed to provide project designers, managers and implementers with an easy way to estimate, track and project energy and emissions benefits from a wide range of clean energy activities, the team calculated annual and projected energy savings and GHG reductions. Additionally, RALI estimated cost savings resulting from efficiency improvements.

The analysis showed that interventions at these five facilities saved 404,145 gigajoules (GJ) of energy, 3,733 tons of carbon dioxide emissions (tCO2e), and US$195,640 in 2015 alone. Through the estimated 10-year lifetime of these technology improvements, the facilities are expected to save more than 4.1 million GJ of energy and reduce GHG emissions by more than 38,000 tCO2e, roughly the equivalent to the emissions from burning 41.6 million metric tons of coal. The success of these interventions can be used as an example for businesses considering energy efficiency investments in similar facilities throughout Colombia.

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