Solar PV panels near a grid
Solar PV panels near a grid

IRENA & Central American Countries Join Forces to Integrate Renewables into Regional Power Systems


Panama City, Panama, 27 October 2016 – A one-week series of workshops designed to support the deployment of renewable energy in Central America will conclude tomorrow in Panama City. Led by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), this first-of-its-kind effort convened key energy stakeholders to tackle the challenge of integrating more renewable energy into regional power systems. Participants included Central American Integration System Member States, regional and national electric utilities, distributors, operators, regulatory authorities, and other power system players.

“While the current investment signals in Central America are encouraging, the integration of larger shares of renewables into national electricity systems and the regional grid is a complex challenge that requires support from all sectors,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “Workshops like those held this week are vital, as they convene the needed stakeholders to chart a course for concrete action. More collaboration will be necessary for the region to achieve its 11 per cent renewable energy target by 2020.”

The week began with a two-day workshop focused on the challenges and opportunities Panama faces in scaling up its renewable energy capacity. Participants assessed the impact of integrating larger shares of renewables into national electricity systems and the regional interconnection infrastructure. The week concluded with a three-day workshop focused on national and regional strategies to advance the deployment of renewables in electricity systems. Participants discussed the policy, regulatory framework and technical challenges ahead in integrating higher shares of variable renewable energy into the energy system.

Speaking at the workshop, Panama Secretary of Energy, Ing. Víctor Carlos Urrutia Guardia said, “The Renewables Readiness Assessment for Panama and the Clean Energy Corridor of Central America come at a very important juncture in the region. Concrete results are expected under the Paris Agreement on climate change and the energy sector will be key to achieving those goals. IRENA is helping the region identify new innovative solutions to incorporate more renewables and improve grid interconnection.” 

The workships were held in partnership with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Carribean (ECLAC), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Panama National Energy Secretariat, and the Panamanian Government. The event was implementated as part of the Clean Energy Corridor of Central America (CECCA).

“IRENA looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the region, and Panama as a pilot country, to achieve the Central American Sustainable Energy Strategy 2020 and to accelerate its transition to a sustainable energy future,” said Mr. Amin. “In the process, the region can improve its energy security, create jobs, boost economic growth and improve public health.”

About the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) 
IRENA is mandated to be the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange by 149 Members (148 States and the European Union). 27 additional countries are in the accession process and actively engaged. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.

Contact information:
Timothy Hurst, Chief Communications Officer, IRENA,
T: +971 2 417 9966; M: +971 56 677 0116