Panama will invest $360 million in wind farms through a tender held in October, the Electricity Transmission Company (Etesa).

Entrepreneurs will invest $620 million in four years to generate electricity from wind, solar and geothermal energy, to join the three applied 3.381 million dollars in hydroelectric construction. At present, the installed capacity of hydropower (60 percent) and thermal (40 percent) is 1,700 megawatts, with an average demand of 1,280 megawatts and an annual growth of 5 percent.

On 15 August, the government will launch a call for tender in October following a 200-megawatt wind farm in the region of -180 Penonomé miles west of the capital with an investment of 360 million dollars. Along with wind power, the State Power Generation Company (Egesa) will invest $10 million in 2012 to build a solar power plant Sarigua National Park, about 230 kilometers west of the capital, which generate two megawatts.

Panama, unlike other Latin American countries still lack of wind farms. There are plans to install wind turbines, and several companies such as Fersa want to develop wind power in Panama. In the long run, Panama is committed to wind power, which the country would not be as dependent on changes in fuel prices. The administrator of the National Authority of Public Services (ASEP), Zelmar Rodriguez said several wind projects that have registered at the school office and even some companies already have their provisional licenses.

“A number of other wind companies are in the process of delivery of the environmental impact study and other requirements we are asking for,” he said. Rodriguez stressed that these projects will not be ready for this year, because they are long term investments and are in the process of paperwork and housekeeping. Wind Fersa Panamanian Union and plans to install a total of 5 wind turbines with a capacity of 565 MW.

With an estimated investment of 360 million, the bidding for wind energy projects will take place in October, according to the Electricity Transmission Company (ETESA), through the National Energy secretary, Juan Manuel Urriola. ‘In the middle of 2013, we must begin to generate wind power, which will have very positive results for that renewable energy and the wind really hits when the hydrology is low,” said Urriola.

He added that this type of energy will link the National Interconnected System maximum capacity of 200 megawatts (MW). The initial contract will be for 150 MW. The Central American country has no wind farms, although there are several ongoing projects.

ETESA announced that among the projects to be undertaken is the cleanest energy of LNG, which just signed an agreement between two companies, Clean Energy of Panama and Repsol of Spain. “These companies already have to set up a capacity of 500 MW with an investment of $ 250 million and should begin operations in the first quarter of 2014, which achieved great annual savings,” said Urriola.

Another advance is that said that ‘the Embera-Wounaan community participate in these projects. This community did not allow access before, but today we have left to do assessments of the environmental study for projects of energy, “said the representative of Energy.

For the official, these projects will bring great benefits because of use of renewable, cleaner energy and a downward impact of energy prices. “Bringing down the cost to the user and change the array with clean, renewable energy is the goal of the new projects we are undertaking,” he added.

On the other hand, the general manager of ETESA Fernando Marciscano admitted that there are complaints of the generators on the possible manipulation of prices and costs for the company. However, he noted that “we would be irresponsible if we accept that high prices would hit the pockets of Panamanians, the idea is to look for more reliable power and much cheaper.” According to the manager of ETESA are doing everything possible so that the energy rate increases. ‘Since 2009 the rate stays the same and what we want to continue with the same price, with no increase.”

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