Panama’s Future Is Renewable Energy

The population of the Republic of Panama is approximately 4.33 million people[1]. In 2018, 100% of the people in this Central American country had access to electricity[2].

Panama’s economy is the 9th largest among the 32 countries in North and South America, as measured by gross domestic product[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the service sector, including operation of the Panama Canal, logistics, banking, insurance, and tourism.

In 2015, Panama’s electric utility, Electricity Connection Union Fenosa used renewable energy (64.0%), oil (30.2%) and coal (5.8%) to generate electricity[4]. Hydropower is the dominant source of renewable energy in Panama.

In 2016, Panama signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], making an unconditional pledge to increase the share of non-hydropower renewables in the electricity mix from 3% to 15% by 2030 and 30% by 2050.

In March 2016, the Government of Panama enacted the National Energy Plan 2015-2050, which is intended to increase energy security, improve energy efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Panama’s National Secretariat of Energy recently announced that the county will hold a renewable energy tender or auction in October 2020. Selected projects will secure five-year power purchase agreements with Panama’s state owned utility.

Panama import’s virtually all fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), which negatively impacts the economy. The country’s renewable energy tender is designed to move the state utility away from expensive oil and coal to inexpensive, renewable energy. Panama has significant, hydropower, geothermal, wind, and solar renewable energy resources, which could easily meet the country’s power requirements.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

[1] Republic of Panama Population (2020) –  September 13, 2020

[2] The World Bank – Republic of Panama

[3] The Heritage Foundation – Republic of Panama

[4] Energy Consumption in Panama – World Data

[5] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

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