Baja Frio hydropower project secures USD 155 million loan

CHIRIQUI, Panama, 11/11/11 (PennWell) — The Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) and Norwegian commercial bank DnB NOR will provide a 15-year term loan to the 58-MW Baja Frio hydroelectric project.

—Owner and developer Fountain Intertrade Corp. of Panama will receive US$155 million in debt financing for development of this run-of-river scheme, which is to be located in the lower part of Rio Chiriqui Viejo in western Panama. Total project costs are expected to be $224 million.

The Baja Frio project comprises a 60-hectare reservoir, a 45-meter-by-300-meter dam, a 2-kilometer open-head canal, two 28-MW power stations, a 2-MW turbine for environmental flows, and 3 kilometers of transmission line. The plant’s output is expected to be 243 GWh annually.

A reforestation program will also be implemented to compensate for habitat lost in the submerged area, and theproject owner is seeking registration under the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism. Development of the Baja Frio project will reportedly reduce CO2 emissions by 160,000 tons per year.

The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

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