Major wind farm project begins in Panama

July 6, 2012 at 12:18 PM
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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, July 6 (UPI) -- Panama is about to undertake Central America's most ambitious wind farm project.

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli announced the $445 million wind energy farm, scheduled to come online next year, will supply approximately 7 percent of Panama's electrical needs.

Even though tens of millions of tons of oil products transit the Panama Canal, Panama is largely bereft of indigenous energy resources, leading the country toward alternative energy solutions. Panama currently relies on hydroelectric and geothermal power generation, the Costa Rica News reported Thursday.

Panama has approximately 90 hydroelectric projects either in the planning stage or under development for the country's future energy needs. The Panamanian National Secretariat of Energy stated recently electricity rates are expected to increase between 25 percent and 30 percent over the next several years.

Government officials say the proposed wind farm will reduce Panamanian oil imports by 145,000 tons per year and reduce carbon dioxide pollutants by 450,000 tons.

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