$427 million investment in wind project

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International conglomerate InterEnergy Holdings said it has agreed to invest $427 million in a Panamanian wind-power project which will be the country’s first and the largest in Central America.

The wind farm being built in the central-western town of Penonome by Spanish-owned Union Eolica Panameña will involve a total investment of $564 million, the companies said in a joint statement.

“InterEnergy’s decision to join in the development of the wind farm bolsters the project’s second phase, which is already up and running after the installation and start-up of the first 22 turbines,” Unión Eólica Panameña (UEP) CEO Rafael Perez-Pire was quoted as saying.

Those initial turbines began operating last December with a generating capacity of 55 MW, equivalent to the electricity consumption of 20,000 homes, according to UEP.

InterEnergy Chairman and CEO Rolando Gonzalez Bunster said “we became pioneers of renewable power in the Dominican Republic (in 2011) and are now delighted to bring our expertise and experience to Panama.”

Once completed, the wind-power project will have a total of 106 turbines and a generating capacity of 270 MW, equal to as much as 7 percent of Panamanian electricity demand.

The wind farm will enable Panama to eliminate approximately 450,000 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions while also reducing nitrous oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions by 1,000 tons and 500 tons, respectively, UEP says.

Panama has nearly 1.43 GW of total installed electricity generating capacity, half of which comes from hydroelectric power stations and the rest from thermoelectric plants.

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