Colombia: Energy Cities - Ciudades Energéticas (angl.)

The Energy Cities project seeks the capacities of administrative teams, companies, educational institutions and social leaders, the design and implementation of local energy strategies, based on the use and exploitation of alternatives in Colombia.

Colombia’s energy system will be confronted with different challenges in the future: electricity demand is expected to increase by 39% within the next 10 years; the international GHG reduction targets are set at 20% by 2030, yet the high share of hydropower of 60% is vulnerable to future climate change impacts. To give an example, the effects of El Niño in 2016, which led to one of the worst droughts in the last 20 years, together with the failure of some hydropower stations, have forced the government to take energy-rationing measures.

In response to these challenges, Colombia is reacting on different levels. An important step has been the development of a strong legal framework for energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE), including the energy efficiency program, PROURE – Program for the Rational and Efficient Use of Energy and non-Conventional Sources, 2017 - 2022. PROURE targets EE in sectors such as industry and transport and has identified a savings potential of 20% for the whole country. Much of these savings can be achieved in cities.

Durée du projet
2017 - 2020
Financé par
  • Secrétariat d'Etat à l'économie SECO

Le projet

Energy Cities (EC) is a management tool for municipalities, which was originated in Switzerland 25 years ago, encouraging the implementation of energy efficiency projects, renewable energy and sustainable mobility at local level through innovative models of collaboration and with the participation of authorities municipalities, the academy, the productive sector and civil society. 

Swisscontact worked in particular on the third strategy action (measure) that was to improve capacity development and awareness in the 3 pilot cities (Pasto, Fusagasugá, Montería) and at the national level.  

The Energy Cities (EC) Program was built upon local stakeholder’s engagement and participation. To make this process effective and reliable, a multi-dimensional capacity-building process was needed, with the objective to flatten knowledge across actors, enhance the capacity of local leaders, encourage active participation and raise awareness for the future development of the program in other cities in the country and in the public policy. It included training on the EEA/EC system, process and tools for both municipal leaders and advisors; technical knowledge and management capacity linked with (the quick-win) project design and implementation; communication and awareness raising; and setting up a national EC support and governance structure. 

Aimed project goals

  1. Guarantee leadership and institutional capacity: At the national level, an institution with the necessary competence and legitimacy needs to be identified to lead the future Colombian CE Program. At the municipal level, interdisciplinary energy teams (a mix of technical and political leaders) led by a coordinator need to be set up to manage the CE Program.
  2. Technical adaptation of the CE Program: The CE tools and processes need to be adapted to Colombia's local conditions and context. This is only possible through a close collaboration with local, national and international experts in all categories of the EEA/CE approach. The cross-fertilization with the development of the Chilean Program is also considered of significant value for both administrators, as well as technicians and energy experts in both countries.
  3. Capacity Building and Support by Energy Experts: Building the capacity of local and regional experts, members from Colombian universities and local companies that work in (and wish to enter) the area of CE as advisors and project enablers to support the local administration is crucial for the CE Program to be successful in the long term.
  4. Handbook for the elaboration of a local energy policy including strategies and action plans and monitoring, based on the CE Process: To ensure a standardized, easy-to- apply approach for a local energy policy in Colombian municipalities, it is important to establish guidelines which provide the content, structure and process of establishing local energy strategies and action plans and monitoring.
  5. Financing and Business Models: Business and financing instruments must be set up by the Ministry of Mines and Energy or other institutions to offer financial incentives for the development of local energy strategies and the implementation of municipal projects.
  6. International exchange of experiences and lessons-learned: To guarantee comparability and compatibility of the Colombian approach with other existing approaches, international exchange and sharing of lessons learned will be sought as much as possible.

Partenaire du projet

  • Unidad de Planeación Minero Energética - UPME (Ministerio de Minas y Energía de Colombia)
  • EBP (Suiza – Chile – Colombia)
  • CORPOEMA (Colombia)
  • ENCO (Suiza)
  • Hinicio (Suiza)

Quantitative Results

Projects formulation: 

  • 3 training courses in project formulation for municipal energy efficiency teams
  • People Trained: Pasto (31), Fusagasugá (26), Montería (46)
  • 14 projects formulated and 6 with prioritised support

SENA Alliance: 

  • SENA Fusagasugá Agreement: Courses on Sizing, Installation and Maintenance of Photovoltaic Installations, Energy Efficiency and Project Formulation, Learning Scenario, Demonstration Scenario
  • Sena Pasto: Low, medium and high range electromechanical bicycle maintenance courses. 90 people trained as of July 2019.


  • 5 proposals for diplomas in energy efficiency.
  • Master in Pasto launched with 17 enrolled.
  • 2 Academic events Use of Renewable Energies.
  • 3 Conferences on sustainable construction (Armin Binz, Mexican Bicycle System Model + conferences implementing entity and country projects among others)