Renewables Readiness Assessment for Panama


As part of its engagement in Latin America IRENA undertook the Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) Panama. A high-level event took place in Panama City for the launch of the report, which included government officials from various institutions, and representatives from the private sector, industry and academia.

A unique aspect of the RRA Panama is that it was undertaken in conjunction with the technical and regulatory projects of the CECCA initiative, given that Panama was the pilot country in 2016. As such, the RRA has a heavy focus on the power sector and VRE integration, and even includes a dedicated section on Panama’s interaction and regulatory interface with the regional electricity market. The RRA also aligns well with the country’s own long-term energy roadmap (“National Energy Plan 2050”), which aims at achieving a 70% renewable energy share in the power mix by 2050.

The report includes the following recommendations:

  • Assess the regulatory and financial incentives for VRE development;
  • Develop a national strategy to improve power system planning and modelling with higher penetrations of VRE;
  • Identify new operational practices to increase the flexibility and reliability of a grid with growing shares of VRE;
  • Assess the regulatory interfaces between the National Electricity Market (MEN) and Regional Electricity Market (MER);
  • Examine the skills development needs of Panama’s workforce to support efforts towards reaching the 2050 renewable energy goal;
  • Develop a long-term plan for electric mobility and sector-coupling.

At the beginning of the meeting, the RRA report and its findings were presented. This was followed by the panel session ‘Future Renewable Energy Deployment in Panama’ between government, private sector, development partners and regional / international organizations to identify areas of possible collaboration for the implementation of RRA recommendations, and where the following points were emphasized:

  • SNE remains committed to leading the RRA process in the future, and working with various stakeholders to implement the report’s recommendations within the context of Panama’s evolving energy sector;
  • Transmission system planning will be a critical component for accommodating higher shares of variable renewable energy (VRE) in Panama’s grid in the future, particularly as transmission constraints exist in the western part of the country;
  • The RRA’s recommendations on adapting power systems planning, modelling and operational practices for increasing VRE shares align well with the work of partners in the region, including GIZ and the World Bank.

To conclude the meeting, in the session ‘Regional Renewable Energy Support in Central America’, GIZ and ECLAC each presented the ongoing and future work of their regional initiatives, and the possible ways the programs can support renewable energy deployment in the region..

Agenda of the Launch Meeting of the Renewables Readiness Assessment for Panama

Presentations from session ‘Renewables Readiness Assessment Panama’

Presentation of RRA Panama Report
Fernando Diaz, Director of Electricity, SNE, Panama

Renewables Readiness Assessment Panama
Chris Marshall, Associate Programme Officer, IRENA

Presentations from session ‘Regional Renewable Energy Support in Central America’

Energy Integration in SICA
Edgardo Sandoval, Director of International Cooperation, SICA

SICA Energy Strategy 2030: Process of Discussion and Advances
Chief, Natural Resources Division, ECLAC

4E III Program
Tanja Faller, Principal Advisor, GIZ Energy Programs Central America