Panama expected to approve three hydro concessions

Panama’s utility regulator is expected to award concessions soon to AES Corp. of the United States to develop three hydroelectric projects totaling 416 MW.

An official of the Autoridad Nacional de los Servicios Publicos told Business News Americas the agency is nearing the end of its review of the three concession requests for 158-MW Gavilan, 132-MW Cauchero 2, and 126-MW Chan-220.

All three of the projects are to use water from the Changuinola River in Bocas del Toro Province, the official said.

Once a concession has been awarded, the developer has one year to complete project details and three to four years to build the project, the official said.

AES announced in January it would build the US$320 million 150-MW Changuinola 75 hydroelectric plant on the Changuinola River in Bocas del Toro. AES said agreements to develop that project include a 10-year power purchase agreement with Panama’s largest utility, Union Fenosa SA.

AES said it has begun engineering and geotechnical work on Changuinola 75. Construction is to begin in 2007 and be complete by mid-2010. AES’ other Panama hydro projects include 42-MW La Estrella, 48-MW Los Valles, 122-MW Esti, and 237-MW Bayano.

For information, contact AES Corp., Scott Cunningham, Investor Relations, 4300 Wilson Boulevard, 11th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203 U.S.A; (1) 703-682-6336; E-mail: invest@aes.com; Internet: www.aes.com.

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