San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Panama begins construction of region's largest wind farm

PANAMA CITY – Panama President Ricardo Martinelli on Tuesday inaugurated the construction of what will be the largest wind farm in Central America, both in power generated and for the energy produced, official sources said.

“We need energy sources like these, [ones that are] cheap and don’t pollute the environment,” Martinelli told reporters. The project is valued at $445 million and expected to be in operation next year.

Penonomé Park, 150 km southwest of the capital, will have a capacity of 220 megawatts and will produce the equivalent of 7 percent of the country’s energy demands. Panama, a country without oil, gets its energy primarily from hydroelectric and geothermic plants.

The park “will supply the energy needs of half a million people and will cut 145,000 tons of oil usage a year. It will also prevent the emission of 450,000 tons of carbon dioxide,” said Rafael Pérez Piré, managing director of the Panamanian Eolic Union, in charge of the project.

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