By: Omar Silva, NP Staff Writer
Belize City, Saturday 18th March 2023
Belize and Panama held a meeting on Friday to discuss potential collaboration in the energy sector. Prime Minister of Belize, John Briceño, met with Carlos Mosquera Castillo, the General Manager of Panama's Electricity Transmission Company (ETESA), which is responsible for the transmission of electricity in Panama. One potential area of discussion could have been Belize's interest in joining the Central American Electricity Interconnection System (SIEPAC), which would improve its energy security and provide access to a more diverse range of energy sources. However, it is unclear if the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and IDB Invest were involved in these discussions.
ETESA is a state-owned company responsible for the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of Panama's high-voltage electricity transmission system. The company is committed to promoting the integration of renewable energy sources into the electricity system and has more than 2,200 kilometers of high-voltage transmission lines, 17 substations, and other related equipment. It is also interconnected with the power systems of neighboring countries, including Costa Rica and Colombia.
Belize's interest in joining SIEPAC has been under discussion for several years, and in 2017, the country conducted a feasibility study that concluded it would be feasible and beneficial to join the grid. Since then, Belize has been negotiating with the other Central American countries to facilitate its entry into SIEPAC. Joining the grid would provide several benefits for Belize, including improved energy security and access to a more diverse range of energy sources.
The IDB and IDB Invest are two organizations that have expertise and experience in the energy sector and have supported numerous initiatives related to energy integration, renewable energy development, and energy efficiency. They could potentially be providing technical assistance or financing support to facilitate Belize's integration into SIEPAC or other regional energy integration initiatives.
Overall, Belize's interest in joining SIEPAC reflects its commitment to transitioning to a more sustainable and diversified energy mix and its desire to participate in regional energy integration efforts. The meeting between Belize and Panama may have focused on this potential collaboration, but it is difficult to confirm for certain what was discussed or agreed upon without access to specific information about the negotiations.