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Colombia-Panama Power Grid: Project to Restart Transmission Line After Two-Year Hiatus

Jul 26, 2014 - Anjalee Khemlani -

FREIWALDE, GERMANY - MARCH 22: Electricity pylons carry high-voltage cables on March 22, 2011 near Freiwalde, Germany. German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle is seeking new regulations to accelerate the expansion of Germany's electricity grid. According to a recent report partially funded by the German government, Germany's electricity grid requires an additional 3,500km of transmission capability and EUR 6 billion in investment in order to accommodate planned alternative energy projects, including solar parks and both land-based and offshore windparks. (Photo : Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

After a two-year hiatus, a project to build transmission line to connect the Colombian power grid to Panama and provide more electricity to Central America has been restarted.

The heads of both countries met Friday, followed by the announcement.

"We hope that by the beginning of 2018, we could have connected Panama and Colombia with this project," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told Reuters.

The plan was conceived in 2008, but an announcement in 2012 detailed the construction of a line that would provide 300-400 megawatts with an option to expand to 600 megawatts, and the first power transaction was slated for next year, according to ELP. They had created a binational corporation to head the project, named Interconexión Eléctrica Colombia Panamá (ICP).

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It was halted in 2012 when the previous Panamanian president disproved of its cost -- $500 million.

By comparison, the current president, Juan Carlos Varela, believes the project will give his country energy security and supports the spread of Colombian-produced power to other Central American countries, according to Reuters.

The dates for certain permits and project approvals from the various government entities were extended in June.

BNAmericas reported ICP requested an extension to produce project plans and pursue environmental approvals, which was approved, and the new deadline is June 2016. It had previously been June of this year.

The transmission line will be built between the two states and a majority of it will be in Colombia.

"The confirmation of the pledge of the new government of Panama is fundamental for the success of the project. Energy security is one of President Juan Carlos Varela's government priorities, and the promotion of interconnections is one of the central pillars of his strategy," Andres Villegas, general manager of ICP, told BNAmericas.

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