Seven new hydroelectric plants costing over $1 billion are in the final stages of construction and will begin operating before the end of the year, according to official sources.
Panama's current grid already has 682 MW of power available from hydroelectric generators at La Fortuna, Bayano, La Estrella, Los Valles, Macano, Concepción and Paso Ancho.
"The largest new generator is due to come on line on July 31 and is called Chan 75. It has been under construction by AES Panama since 2005 and will have capacity to produce 223 megawatts of electricity - 15% of the country's existing capacity," reports an article by Wilfredo Jordán for Prensa.com.
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A subsidiary of GDF Suez will start the construction of a 115 MW run-of-the river hydro project following an auction which took place on 9 Sep. 2008.
As a result of this auction, 100 MW have been sold to distribution companies for a period of 10 years, between 2013 and 2022. GDF SUEZ will provide 6,000 GWh for the length of this period.
The award was given to the company Macano II Hydroelectric for the construction and operation of a 4.15 MW hydroelectric plant called RP-550, in the province of Chiriqui.
From a statement issued by the National Authority of Public Services:
"...FIRST: AWARD to the business HIDROELÉCTRICA MACANO II, S.A., registered in the Listing 833362, Document 2597272, of the Microfilm Section of the Public Commercial Registry of Panama, Rights to Concession for the construction and operation of the hydropower plant called RP- 550, which use the waters of the River Piedra, located in the village of Paraiso and Guayabal and district of Boqueron, Chiriqui Province, with an installed capacity of 4.15 MW. "
At the request of the three companies interested in the 213 MW work, the deadline for submitting bids has been extended until May 6.
May 6 is the date for receipt of the proposals from the three companies interested in the design, financing, construction and operation of the hydroelectric dam Changuinola II, in the province of Bocas del Toro.
GDF Suez and Enel Green Power did not submit bids and in the end the 50 year concession of Changuinola II went to the only remaining contestant, Oderbrecht Energy.
The financial offer made by the Brazilian company for the 213 MW hydro station exceeded, by $419 million, the cost of the Chan I plant, whose generating capacity is similar and which also uses the Changuinola river as a common source.