The AES Corp. has inaugurated a 381-MW combined cycle power plant in Panama which will be linked to a liquified natural gas terminal in the near future.
AES Colón’s power plant is expected to begin commercial operations on September 1. It is accompanied by a liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal, the first in Central America. The LNG tank is expected to begin operations in the second half of 2019, according to AES.
“The inauguration of AES Colón is a significant step toward diversifying the energy mix in Central America and the Caribbean, introducing cleaner alternatives in Panama and beyond,” AES President and Chief Executive Officer Andrés Gluski said in a statement. “We expect that the entry of low-cost, U.S. LNG will transform the Central American energy sector, much as it has in the Dominican Republic. This facility is the latest example of how innovation is driving a cleaner energy future on a global scale.”
The combined $1.15 billion AES Colón project will offer an alternative to petroleum-based fuels in Central America and the Caribbean. Initially, AES Colón will use 20 Trillion Thermal British thermal units (TBtu) annually, with U.S. gas exports totaling roughly $140 million.
The LNG terminal has a capacity of 80 TBtus, creating the total potential for more than half a billion dollars per year in U.S. gas exports. The 60 TBtus of excess capacity available through AES Colón will allow for distribution across Central American countries for electricity generation, commercial and industrial customers, transportation and bunkering.
AES brings more than 15 years of experience in LNG terminal operation to Colón, with a similar generation facility and LNG terminal in the Dominican Republic that has contributed significantly to the sustainability of the energy sector. The generation facility and LNG terminal have helped avoid approximately 4 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions that would have otherwise been emitted by using imported petroleum products to generate electricity while saving the country hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
AES Colón was completed in 27 months, and during construction, the project created more than 2,500 jobs. Once in operations, the facility will create about 200 jobs.