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The largest wind farm in Central America, located 150 kilometers east of Panama City, has been inaugurated after completing its third phase, providing a generating capacity of 270 megawatts (MW) of clean energy.
With an investment of $570 million, 108 wind turbines were installed, which will produce between six and seven percent of the country’s electricity demand, the equivalent of the consumption of about 100,000 families, according to the newspaper La Estrella.
The Wind Farm Penonomé, in the central province of Coclé, includes a fourth phase which will raise its potential to 337 MW and responds to the nation’s policy of increasing the use of renewable energy such as wind and solar, to limit dependence on hydro and thermal, the source said.
It is estimated that by 2016 Panama could have 400 MW of installed wind potential, which would cover almost a quarter of the needs of the nation.
Experts say that wind turbines require an investment of about 1.5 million dollars per MW, half the cost of hydropower plants.
The Panamanian wind farm stands to occupy 13th place in the world for its potential, preceded by another ten in the United States, one in Britain and one in Belgium, according to the German digital site, All Rankings.
The greatest investor in the Penonomé wind farm is InterEnergy Holdings, a transnational company dedicated to clean energies in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Chile and Panama.
The introduction of wind energy will allow Panama to avoid the emission of approximately 450,000 tons of carbon into the environment and it will mitigate the emission of thousands of tons of nitrogen oxide and 500 of sulfur dioxide, assured the Panama Wind Union, the consortium operating the facility .
The country’s energy matrix depends greatly on highly polluting thermal and hydroelectric plants, which, besides doing damage to the environment , work in an unstable way in dry periods.
Panama is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, but it has fallen behind in infrastructure needed to increase the generation and transmission of energy.
The Panamanian government estimates that the country’s demand will grow at a rate of eight percent each year, which requires an investment of around three billion dollars in the next decade to meet the country’s needs.
In late 2014, the global capacity of energy produced by wind turbines increased to 370 gigawatts, five per cent of electricity consumption. Denmark set the pace in this regard when it covered a quarter of its demand followed by Spain with 21 per cent.