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Electrical Power Equipment
A Top U.S. Export Prospect for Panama

May 2013

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Market Estimates

(in US$ millions)

2011

2012

2013est

2013est

Total Market Size

$114.0

128.0

143.0

164.0

Total Local Production

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Total Exports

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Total Imports

114.0

128.0

143.0

164.0

Imports from the U.S.

47.0

55.0

61.0

72.0

The above statistics are unofficial estimates.

Overview

Panama has an installed capacity of approximately 2,500 MW, about 60% of which is hydropower. Since Panama experiences a dry season, it supplements hydropower with thermo electric generation, primarily fuelled by bunker. The net cost to end users is approximately $.14/kwh, much of which is attributable to generating costs. Panama is seeking to lower this cost, as well as smooth out the supply, in order to increase its competitiveness for foreign direct investment. For comparison with electricity rates in other countries, including the U.S., please refer to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Information Administration at: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/elecprih.html.

Panama’s demand for electricity is growing by approximately 50 MW per year. The government would like to increase the percentage of renewable in the generation matrix to about 70-80% of the total. The growth of the construction sector has generated a steady demand for electricity in the last 5-7 years. This growth is expected to continue during the next few years driven by the projected increase in low cost housing construction and the implementation of a number of infrastructure projects, including the expansion of the Panama Canal. The electric sector in Panama is controlled by the private sector with the exception of the transmission company which is fully owned and operated by the government.

The Panamanian market is very receptive to U.S. electrical power equipment. Its high quality, durability, competitive prices, quick delivery and service capability are the main factors behind this preference. Price and quality are the main factors in selecting equipment suppliers, followed by after-sale service, which includes technical assistance.

Competitors come principally from Sweden, Italy, Brazil, Germany and England. Panama has no particular standards and regulations for power generation equipment. All U.S. made equipment is readily accepted in Panama and import duties for U.S. products have been reduced to zero as a result of the Trade Promotion Agreement between the U.S. and Panama.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

The market offers excellent opportunities for both hydroelectric generators, especially small and medium size plants, and thermo generators. There is strong interest by several companies to develop non-traditional energy sources and the Government of Panama is expected to play a stronger role in promoting the use of these technologies.

Opportunities

The Government of Panama passed Law No. 45 of August 4, 2004 to provide a number of incentives for the construction and development of new electric generation plants, especially hydroelectric plants (up to 20 MW) and other clean energy sources. Also, a new law to promote wind power generation was passed in 2011.

Web Resources

For More Information

The U.S. Commercial Service in Panama can be contacted via e-mail at: Enrique.Tellez@trade.gov;

Phone: 011-507-317-5080; or visit our website: http://www.export.gov/panama.