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AES El Salvador, a Central American subsidiary of the US power company AES, and the regional firm Corporación Multi Inversiones (CMI) have collaborated to add to the available stock of renewable energy in El Salvador by finishing a major solar project in the country during the fourth quarter of 2019.
El Salvador is considered important to both companies’ leadership because of its location. Executives believe that from there they can service an energy network that feeds all of Central America’s Northern Triangle nations (Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador).
Beyond 2019’s Bosphorus Project, which consists of 10 solar plants, AES El Salvador plans to install additional capacity for renewable energy in El Salvador in 2020. The company is advancing an ambitious environmental plan for the region that will allow the affected Central American countries to withdraw or sell some of their fossil fuel power generation plants.
Bosphorus is part of a strategy that includes new investments that, when taken together, aim to prevent the emission of approximately 175,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. Furthermore, through the use of renewable energy in El Salvador, and the region as a whole, AES and its partners intend to precipitate the reduction of overall CO2 emissions by 50% by 2022 and 79% by 2030.
In addition to the use of solar, wind, and geothermal sources, countries of the region will move to replace coal and bunker produced energy with cleaner-burning fuels such as natural gas.
According to Juan Ignacio Rubio, president of AES Mexico, renewable energy in El Salvador makes great sense because, in the context of Central America, its electric power system is the one that uses the most petroleum-derived fuels on a percentage-wise basis.
It is generally believed that a move towards more solar and other renewable forms of power will be good for the country and its natural environment.
The president of AES Mexico also asserts that, in addition to reducing CO2 emissions, the Bosphorus project will bring energy cost savings to El Salvador. AES is a US multinational that has operated in Central America for the past two decades. Its main business is electricity generation. The Bosphorus power generation project is a part of a network of renewable energy plants that produce a combined 35,000 megawatts of electrical power in 14 countries.
AES Renewable Energy and CMI in El Salvador: The Last Piece
On October 29, 2019, AES and CMI began operations at the last of 10 plants connected to the Bosphorus project, located in Guazapa, a municipality that is north of the Salvadoran capital city of San Salvador. With this development, phase III of the project (which also includes facilities located in the municipalities of Nejapa and Apopa) was completed.
Seventy percent of the funds that were utilized for the execution of the project came from the Corporation for Private Investment Abroad (OPIC), a financial agency of the US government; the Central Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE); the Dutch Bank for Development (FMO), and the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (FINNFUND). All four financing entities were in agreement that the renewable energy in El Salvador that will be distributed through the Bosphorus facilities will place energy generation and distribution points closer to consumers. This will have the effect of supporting and enhancing the reliability of the national electrical grid.
Upcoming Plans for Renewable Energy in El Salvador
By the end of 2020, AES El Salvador plans to build a new solar power plant in the western part of the country. It is estimated that this project will inject 10 additional megawatts of power into the national electrical power grid and will move the country toward the AES goal of making El Salvador a strategic point for distributing energy to the countries that make up the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador).
In addition to renewable sources, greater liquified natural gas (LNG) resources may soon be added to the energy mix in Central America. This would be accomplished by taking advantage of the recent opening of a new natural gas plant in Panama. LNG production in Panama could be exported to other countries in the region to serve as a cleaner alternative to the fossil fuel burning plants located on the isthmus.
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