The Panamanian government approved the 2015-2050 National Energy Plan. We reviewed the document and here are the highlights of potential opportunities, which includes an important component of solar power. The aim of the plan is the reduction of fossil-based energy sources and diversify the energy matrix mainly from renewable and cleaner energy sources.


Currently the sources are: 39.27% thermal, 57.65% Renewable (mainly hydro), and 3.08% Solar. With the current annual growth of 3% in energy consumption and maintaining this model, it will not be sustainable and it will not comply with Panama’s commitment after the November 2015 COP meeting in Paris, for the reduction of carbon emissions.


By 2050 the plan aims to diversify the energy matrix. Different scenarios were studied, and most agree that the diversification should look like:




Hydro Power


Wind Power




Natural Gas


Carbon, Petroleum and other fossil fuel based





For this scenario the capacity should increase about 389%, mainly in Natural Gas, Wind Power, Solar, and to some extend in hydro power, as:



2014 Installed Capacity in MW

Installed Capacity (2015-2050) MW

Increment in MW

Natural Gas




Wind Power








Hydro Power





To reach these goals the plan has created the UREE Fund (Fondo de Uso Racional y Eficiente de Energia -UREE-). This entity will have a budget of US$ 10 million for the following four years, mainly to:

  • Finance energy studies and audits.
  • Complete investment projects or programmes for energy efficiency.
  • Grant credits and guarantee  schemes to support energy efficient projects of interest for the Energy Secretariat.
  • Support any new initiatives in favour new technologies, products or services that guarantee energy efficiency.

Additionally the central government will contribute with US$1 million for the following 10 years. Until the entity become self-sufficient.


Potential Tenders and Opportunities


Universal access and reduction of energy poverty:

  • Electrification of rural communities with no access to current energy distribution lines. From 2016-2019 connect 17,000 homes to the network and 7,000 homes to solar panel installations.


Decarbonisation of the energy matrix:

  • The Energy Secretariat will initiate studies to identify potential in the marine platform to understand Panama’s offshore wind power capacity. The plan does not contain any information about this energy source, but is considered as an important opportunity.
  • The ASEP has granted wind power permits for a total of 1,869.6 MW for installed capacity (most of them in 2015), therefore the remaining 1,835.4 MW estimated to increment by 2050 is still available.



  • Construction of transmission lines:


Beginning of Operations

Estimated Budget US$

Purchase and installation of Bank Capacitors

February 2018



February 2018


Addition of Static VAR compensators (SVC) in different locations

July 2018 onwards


Line to Darien Province

January 2019


Line Panama III – Sabanitas

January 2019


Substation Panama III 230 KV

February 2019


Substation Barro Blanco 230 KV

To be defined


These are only high value projects. The total estimate budget for the 2015-2029 Transmission expansion is USD$ 703,812,528.17


  • ETESA has been preparing since September 2015 the tender documents for the Darien Transmission Line. Tender is expected for 2016. The construction of the Line to Darien would allow the Colombia-Panama Interconnection, to supply energy from Colombia to the rest of Central America with a capacity to transmit 400 MW. Studies about the best route are currently underway to avoid any damaged to the Darien forest.
  • Natural Gas – Gas to Power Panama Project: Located in Margarita Island Colon, it include the construction, installation and operation of energy plant from natural gas sources, with a capacity of 185,000 m3.
    • About this: Gas Power Panama is owned by Martano Inc, a Panamanian company whose main shareholders are Shanghai gorgeous Investment Development Co., Landbridge Group and Termogas Group (Landbridge Groups has Australian interest, and the LNG for that plant will come from Queensland, Australia.
    • Urban Planning and Sustainable cities:
      • The Energy Secretariat agrees with the Municipality of Panama on their plan called “Plan Metropolitano: sotenible, Humano, y Global”, which include projects as:
        • Walkability of Calle 50
        • Renovation and recovery of the public space in Central Avenue and Via España (underway)
        • Development of the Master Plan for the Bike Path of Panama City and West Panama.


  • Along with MEDUCA: initiate a plan to incorporate in all levels school a training programmes for education and cultural change of energy consumption and energy efficiency.


Also the plan aims to:

  • Reform the current law of renewable energies to a adopt a single legislation for incentives of renewable energies. (Currently Law 45 of 2004 plus other incentives). The SNE with the National Assembly have a primary responsibility and the ASEP a secondary responsibility.
  • Update and design of a new procurement process for purchase of energy. It will include the recommendation of the Energy Secretariat to coordinate with ASEP and ETESA a month in the year when all energy tenders will take place.


Final Remarks:

The plan focused mostly on the potential of Panama to use renewable sources and how to support this theory for the Cabinet to approve the Energy Plan. Except for the transmission lines expansion projects, there was not much information about when and where there is potentially an opportunity to build other wind or solar power farms. As tenders will remain a responsibility of ETESA, it is important to continue monitoring the procurement website for future opportunities.


On February 2016, ETESA published a tender for the consultancy for the design of an expansion plan for the transmission system for 2016-2030. The tender was cancelled, but the resolution did not have further information on the reason for the cancellation (Procurement Notice No. 2016-2-78-0-08-LP-006737)


The original  document was published in Gaceta Official No. 28003-A. It is a large document, and here is a link to it in Spanish.


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