The companies said that wind power could save Panama as much as $500 million a year in oil bills.
Test towers have been erected in the central provinces of Coclé and Veraguas, and at La Chorrera, some 35 kilometers from the capital.
Energy generated from wind power has great potential for growth in a region where access to natural gas is limited and countries mainly depend on diesel.
According to Adrian Katzew, manager of the Danish firm Vestas, a wind turbine manufacturer, the wind industry’s potential for growth of at the regional level is very high, considering that in Central America and the Caribbean there is no easy access to natural gas, meaning that power generation is dependant mainly on diesel and hydroelectric sources "which are very cyclical."
The Ministry of Energy has evaluated the behavior of the wind in 16 areas, of which 10 have high potential for wind power generation.
Among the areas identified are Villa Canales (at the esates of La Concha, La Sabana and San Antonio) San Marcos (Matazano, Sparks, Estanzuela, Zacapa and El Rodeo estates), said Fabio Gudiel, deputy director general of the Ministry of Energy Energy and Mines.
Funding pledged by international banks hit by the global financial crisis must be replaced by other sources of capital.
In other cases, the government has denied the necessary operation permits due to breach of requisites.
Actions by environmentalists, who want to prevent the use of the Santa Fe National Park for a wind farm, claiming "ecological fragility" of the area have also influenced in the delay.
Of the 24 licenses for wind power generation that are currently being processed, eight are for the Enrilews S.A. Company.
The eight concessions for the Enrilews S.A. Company are at the stage where the corresponding environmental impact studies must be presented. The projects will be located at sites as far as Colon, Cocle, Chiriqui, Veraguas and Eastern Panama.
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