Panama City, Panama – December 16,
2014 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has completed a $300
million financing package for the construction of Phase II and Phase III
of the Penonome wind power plant, the largest wind farm in Central America.
Once operational, the 86 wind turbines with an installed capacity of 215
MW are expected to generate 448 GWh of energy per year, roughly equivalent
to 5 percent of the country’s total energy demand. Phase II and III was
acquired by InterEnergy Holdings, a private company with significant presence
in the energy sector in the region and majority shareholder of UEP Penonomé
II, SA , a company created to operate this project in Panama .
The project, located about 150 kilometers
from Panama City, is the largest grid-connected wind farm in Panama. It
is expected to diversify the country’s energy matrix, ease the dependence
on imported fossil fuels, lower energy prices, and contribute to a reduction
in carbon emissions. UEP Penonome II will displace about 400,000 tons of
CO2 per year, roughly equivalent to taking 84,000 cars off the road.
The financing package consists of a
US$ 80 million senior loan from IFC’s own account, a US$ 60 million senior
loan from IFC’s Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program, a new loan syndication
platform that offers institutional investors the ability to passively participate
in IFC’s future senior loan portfolio, and US$ 144 million in IFC’s syndicated
senior loans from other development finance institutions and Panamanian
banks. In addition, IFC will provide a US$ 16 million subordinated loan
from its own account.
Panama is one of the fastest growing
economies in Latin America. However, investments in infrastructure investments,
particularly to increase power generation, have lagged. The Panamanian
government estimates that the country’s energy demand will increase by
up to 8 percent annually. Rising demand will require investments of around
US$3 billion over the next decade to keep up with energy needs.
“IFC has been a long-term partner for
InterEnergy, with previous investments that are supporting more reliable
energy production in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Michael Bax,
InterEnergy Holding Director. “This financing reflects a strong commitment
to further developing Panama's infrastructure, particularly clean energy
production, as a strategic priority in the country.”
Panama is highly dependent on imported
fossil fuels, which represent more than a third of the electricity generated.
Another half of the country’s electricity is generated from hydropower
plants, making the power sector vulnerable during the dry season. This
can result in rationing of power and high electricity cost during droughts.
The project will help increase the energy generated from renewable
sources dispatched into the grid and will complement Panama’s hydro based
generation since wind resources happen to be significantly stronger during
the dry season when hydro production is at its lowest.
“Phase II and III of Penonome will
add much-needed electricity generation capacity to support Panama’s sustainable
development,” said Gabriel Goldschmidt, IFC Head for Infrastructure in
Latin America and the Caribbean. “The project is aligned with IFC’s strategy
to support initiatives that help Central American countries transition
to a cleaner and more efficient energy matrix.”
IFC’s committed portfolio in Panama
amounts to $686 million, including mobilizations from other financial institutions.
In Panama, IFC is supporting financial intermediaries, infrastructure and
education, by increasing access to finance for micro, small, and medium
enterprises. It is also supporting renewable energy projects, and the expansion
of the Panama Canal, among others.
About InterEnergy Holdings
InterEnergy Holdings ("InterEnergy")
owns and operates power generation and distribution companies in Latin
America and the Caribbean. Its predecessor, Basic Energy Ltd., led by entrepreneur
Rolando Gonzalez Bunster, had 25 years of investment experience and operations
in the energy sector with the acquisition and development of over 1,500
MW in the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Panama and Jamaica.
Today InterEnergy is one of the largest
investors in the Dominican energy sector in the areas of generation, distribution
and marketing. InterEnergy is also a pioneer in the development of renewable
energy in the region, establishing the first wind park in the Dominican
Republic in 2011, through a partnership between EGE Haina and CEPM in Juancho,
Los Cocos, Pedernales Province. The wind farm, which was recently expanded,
has a 86 MW installed capacity.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the
private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries,
we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme
poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22
billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle
the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit