Panama Canal Authority explores clean energy sources

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP), which already uses hydroelectric plants and thermal energy to power the operations of the waterway, is studying other sources of electricity such as wind and solar power.

“A study was made using historical satellite and climatological information of the wind potential of a site in Mendoza in La Chorrera (western Panama),” according to the annual budget report of the last fiscal year.

The energy potential identified so far in Mendoza is small, but the ACP continues to work on identifying alternative sources of clean energy, the report said.

It also states that Toro Point, located at the north end of the Canal, also yielded data collection on wind speed and direction to subsequently initiate the feasibility study that will determine how much energy can be generated at this point.

The surplus energy the ACP generates for its operations is sold to the market. The management expects a decline in energy sales for this year as new plants begin to supply the grid.

The ACP is expected to end the year with a production of 1,224 megawatt hours, compared to 1,136 megawatt hours in 2013 during the preparation of budget revenues for fiscal year 2015, amounting to $2,415 million.

The administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano, explained that the entity has 206 megawatts of thermal capacity and 60 megawatts in hydroelectric: Madden 36 and Gatun 24.

Notably, during the last crisis caused by drought and deterioration of some thermal plants, the ACP contributed 35% of the electricity required by the country. The institution is also implementing the 2011-2020 management plans for energy efficiency, which provides that the entity use power rationally and efficiently. This year, a pilot program was started for measuring energy in buildings with the data obtained from corporate intranet systems, says the report.

Gradually the Canal will be adding more buildings. The goal, according to the report, is to relate the measurements obtained to the implementation of energy audits and action plans to optimize consumption.

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