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Impact of government incentives in the profitability of green energy production using fuel cells in Colombia. Bernardo A. Ramos-Paja 2 y Sergio I. Ramos-Paja y S. Fuel cells are a technological alternative to produce green energy, however, high costs make fuel cell a non-profitable option. This paper analyses the impact of the Colombian government incentives in the profitability of fuel cells.
The analysis is based on the total operation cost of the fuel cell in three representative applications: residential, office and building elevator. The economic viability of fuel cell generation in those cases is contrasted with classical solutions like diesel generators and standard grid to provide a reference framework. Such results enable to evaluate the effectiveness of the Colombian government incentives in promoting the use of fuel cells over other less environmental-friendly options such as diesel generators.
Finally, new incentives are proposed by subsidies offered by other countries with higher fuel cell penetration into their electric market. All the analyses are supported in simulations performed with a mathematical model parameterized using the characteristics of commercial devices. Keywords: cells, green government, electricity production, tax incentives, government subsidies. Fuel cells are emerging as an alternative for clean electricity generation, i.
Fuel cells are environmentally friendly power sources due to its free of noise operation, high efficiency and almost free of pollutants residuals.
Such characteristics make fuel cells a suitable option to replace classical generators based on internal combustion engines, which are noisy, pollutant and require frequent maintenance due to their large number of mobile parts . Moreover, fuel cells are predictable green power sources, which is a major advantage over unpredictable renewable generators such as photovoltaic systems PV or wind generators WG .
The power production predictability enables to design, precisely, the power flows in the fuel cell system without the uncertainty caused by, for example, clouding or low wind speed present in PV or WG systems.
Moreover, the local area required to install a fuel cell generator is significantly lower in comparison with other green power sources such as PV or WG systems. Similarly, a In contrast, a wind turbine of 2. Hence it is required near to m2 with six wind turbines to generate the same capacity.
Despite those benefits, the main disadvantage of fuel cells is its high cost, which prevents its integration in the energy basket of some countries. The IPHE is aimed at accelerating the transition to a hydrogen economy, promoting their income and commercialization in the energy market through economic incentives and government policies, those with the aim of reducing the fuel cell costs and increase their competitiveness within the market . In Latin America, Argentina approved in the "Hydrogen Act" Act 26, , which defined "Of national interest the development of hydrogen technology as fuel and energy sector" .
This political will contribute at promoting the development and investment in fuel cells. However, delays in the Act regulation have compromised its effectiveness . Similarly, Colombia approved the Act in , which regulates the integration of non-conventional renewable energy into the national power grid.
This Act establishes incentives to non-conventional renewable energy. Using the previous legal conditions, the profitability of fuel cell generation in Colombia is studied in this paper for three representative cases: residential, office and building elevators. In both applications, the main objective is to replace the large amount of diesel generators, which are pollutant and noisy devices.
The study is performed by comparing the purchasing, taxes, and operation costs of fuel cells and diesel generators using standard load profiles. Moreover, the cost of supplying the load profiles using the conventional power grid is also calculated to provide a reference frame-work. On the basis of the study results, the possible advantages in fuel cell investments in Colombia are discussed and remarked. In addition, the Colombian incentives are compared with incentives provided by other countries, which enable to propose a new government incentive to cover some cases that are out of the scope in the current Colombian legislation.
Such, a new incentive will be aimed at promoting the use of fuel cells in residences, which will be very beneficial for non-interconnected zones. The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 introduces three study cases, for which the operational costs of fuel cell power systems are calculated. Section 3 calculates the operational costs of classical generation solutions for the same applications cases, which enable to evaluate the profitability of fuel cell systems.
Then, Section 4 analyzes the impact of the economic incentives provided by the Colombian government aimed at promoting the use of fuel cells.
Section 5 analyzes the economic incentives provided by other countries to propose new incentives for the Colombian market. Finally, the conclusions close the paper. A complete analysis of return on investment should include: system size, productivity improvements, system cost, system lifetime, fuel cost and tax credit.
Productivity improvements are related with to suspend the service due to refueling. This impact depends on the daytime when refueling is performed. A cost very hard of to estimate, so that it was not considered.
The first step in the economic analysis is to calculate the operational costs of commercial fuel cells in the application cases, which includes the purchasing, importing, depreciating and hydrogen consumption costs. The residential and office applications were chosen because they conform a large sector of low power rating in Colombia, which uses diesel generators as backup sources.
Similarly, a lot of building elevators in both residential and commercial sectors use diesel generators as backup sources. The following subsections illustrate how the hydrogen consumption of commercial fuel cells was calculated for the three application cases. The cost of that hydrogen mass is estimated based on commercial prices in Colombia. Due to the immature technology, the cost of the fuel has large fluctuation, since the costs associated with production, distribution, storage and infrastructure are unknown.
Subsequently, the purchasing, importing and depreciating costs are estimated to provide a unified monthly cost. The commercial fuel cell for each application was selected from the maximum power re-ported in each load profile. Then, the mathematical fuel cell model reported in  was parameterized in agreement with the characteristic of each commercial device.
Those models were used to simulate the operation of each application during 24 hours to calculate the amount of hydrogen consumed. In this fuel cell system, the main power losses are generated by the power stage, it reaching efficiencies of Similarly, Table 1 presents the technical specifications of the commercial fuel cells selected for those applications cases: E for the residential case, FCS-C for the office case and HyPMTMHD 30 for the building elevators case.
But the complete system is formed by the controller, power conditioning, fuel supply, power supply, measurement equipment, and others. Changing the PEM every two or three years, the complete system has a lifetime of ten years approximately. Nevertheless, for the analysis performed we consider only the stack lifetime. Table 2 reports the hydrogen consumption results obtained by the simulations for 24 hours.
Moreover, Table 2 also includes the commercial cost of the hydrogen Type 5 in Colombia, for calculating the consumption costs. Finally, Table 2 also reports the consumption costs for both daily and monthly periods. The average monthly cost of the fuel was calculated on the base of days of operation a year.
Nevertheless, the office certainly does not operate on weekends or holiday periods, the house probably has an occupancy close to days a year, while the elevator depends on the type of building, whether it is commercial or residential.
To estimate the complete costs of a fuel cell application, the purchasing, importing and depreciating costs must be included. The purchasing - and importing costs ,  were obtained from both manufacturers and a local logistic agent, respectively. The total cost of purchasing and importing were calculated as reported in Eq. TLE costs are related to releasing the fuel cell in the airport, while CF corresponds to customs commissions, licenses, forms, declarations, tariff position and warehousing.
The depreciating costs were calculated as in Eq. Nevertheless, to get closer to reality, the fuel cell system lifetime should be very much greater. The results are presented in the Table 3 , which corresponds to a continuous operation during 24 hours and 30 days. The last column of Table 3 reports the equivalent monthly cost of the fuel cells. Combining the monthly hydrogen consumption presented in Table 2 and the fuel cells monthly depreciation given in Table 3 , the total operation costs of the fuel cells are reported in Table 4.
The following subsections describe the calculation of the operational costs in Colombia for diesel generators and conventional grid in the three study cases. In order to obtain the equivalent monthly operational costs, the price of suitable diesel generators for each application was obtained from local providers. Then, according to the fuel consumption, the fuel cost, the generator lifetime and the estimated installation and maintenance costs of the generator, the operational costs were calculated.
Similarly, Eq. Table 5 and Table 6 report the calculation results. The total monthly operational costs of diesel generators corresponds to the sum of the monthly depreciation and maintenance costs reported in Table 5 and the monthly fuel cost reported in Table 6. The equivalent monthly cost of this energy source was calculated from Eq.
Those costs per kWh were differentiated between residential and non-residential customers, which include the lifetime that, for hydroelectric generation, is 50 to years , . Therefore, the office and building elevator applications were classified within the non-residential rate. Table 7 reports obtained results. Table 8 shows the comparison between the monthly operation costs of fuel cells, diesel generators and conventional grid.
Without any additional incentive, fuel cell costs are higher than diesel generators for residential and office applications.
However, fuel cells are cheaper than diesel generators as backup for building elevators. This last condition is due to the large amount of fuel consumed by the diesel generator 7. In all the three cases, the conven-tional grid is cheaper than the two backup generators.
On the other hand, comparing only the fuel consumption costs Table 2 and Table 7 , and the conventional power grid, it is observed a significant reduction of the costs provided by the hydrogen. This condition shows that hydrogen is a cheap energy vector in Colombia for electric generation, although the depreciation of Table 3 was not included, which also must be very much lower. Impact of the government incentives in Colombia over electric generation with fuel cells. The Act of is a firm step made in Colombia to encourage the use of non-conventional energy sources.
This Act is aimed at achieving a sustainable economic development, reducing the greenhouse gasses emissions and promoting an efficient energy management . Moreover, the Tax Statute of Colombia establishes additional incentives for companies using non-pollutant energy sources. In the following, those incentives are described and analyzed.
Generating with non-conventional sources. This incentive is aimed to companies obligated to pay an income tax, which invest in non-conventional sources. Exclusion of VAT. The equipment, machinery and national or imported services for pre-investment, investment, production, and energy use, associated with non-conventional sources, are exempt from paying the Value Added Tax-VAT.
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The benefits refer to dividends tax and capital gains tax. Los beneficios son en materia de impuesto a los dividendos y de ganancias […]. The mandatory confinement and international travel restrictions imposed by the Colombian Government to prevent the spread of Covid in our Country may carry unintended tax consequences in Colombia for foreign companies. Liquidity is one of the main concerns that taxpayers have, facing the crisis generated by the outbreak of Covid19 in Colombia. In this opportunity, we share with you 3 tax and 4 finance ideas for companies in Colombia to generate short-term liquidity, which require a case-by-case consideration, preferably with the advice of […]. The attached table summarizes the most relevant tax and procedural measures taken by national and territorial authorities, aimed at mitigating the negative effects derived from the outbreak of Covid — 19 in Colombia. Read Article.
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