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Congress Andesco '19

Regional Development Australia ACTs Simon Troman recently attended the Congress ANDESCO ‘19 in Columbia, kindly sponsored by Austrade.

"ANDESCO is a group of private and government entities from throughout Latin America that are in the public utilities space; water, electricity, roads, waste etc. To date they have mostly concentrated on waste and water, but energy is now becoming a major priority. Member countries are looking at the transition to renewable energy.

In addition to the Congress Austrade organized a number of meetings in Olympia, with their version of AEMO, various academic institutes and public owned energy companies. I also met with the Deputy Minister for Energy.

In many ways Colombia is ahead of Australia with regards to aspects of social equality and public transport. Medellin in particular has totally transformed post the Escobar era. There is an incredible public transport system, consisting of a raised metro rail running by and over the river. At each major station there is a cable car system going up each side of the steep valley. There are around eight working cable lines with several more in progress.

The valley is too steep for buses or trains. The project has helped transform the city. Previously movement between suburbs band city was heavily restricted due to the terrain. This resulted in each suburb area becoming a mini, self contained entity ruled over by gangs. In order to move out of the suburb, for example to work in the city, needed the permission of their gang (ie pay them a fee). The public transport system, changed all this, and now the gangs are all busy gone and people move quickly and easily into the city for work, study etc.

70% of Colombia’s electricity comes from hydro, however this is rapidly falling as the sites are tapped out and the demand is growing. The remainder of the generation is mostly fossil fuel with some renewable generation. The latter is growing fast, but the grid is not ready. The best solar and wind sites are also not on the main grid."

Author: Simon Troman

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