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Central America prepares for shared grid #413922
08/15/11 02:59 PM
08/15/11 02:59 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,801
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Central America is preparing to switch on a unified power grid, and is carrying out the final tests before going live in 2012.

The project directors have said that the network of substations and 1800 km high-voltage line linking six countries in the isthmus is 88 per cent complete.

Jose Enrique Martinez of Empresa Propietaria de la Red (EPR), the firm overseeing the SIEPAC project, said: “This is the most important integration project on a global scale.”

EPR is building the regional grid connected to local power networks in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, while a regional agency governed by a board with members from each country will operate the line. Belize, the seventh and smallest nation in the region, is not included.

All the involved governments have approved a treaty to create a single regional energy market with one joint regulator so companies can buy electricity from anywhere in the region.

EPR says the $500m SIEPAC grid will lower generation costs by up to 20 per cent.

Re: Central America prepares for shared grid [Re: Marty] #413923
08/15/11 03:00 PM
08/15/11 03:00 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,801
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
from friends.....

They didn’t nationalize BECOL – I think that’s the key. BEL as State-owned or not, without a nationalization of BECOL, BEL is still on the hook to buy all the electricity BECOL (the dams) produce – and probably at too high a cost so that we couldn’t participate in the regional grid hook-up (assuming we wanted to, that is).


Also, what does it cost to join this? The US$500 million cost of the shared grid had to be paid by somebody -- I would assume the other CA countries kicked in to pay for it, and Belize probably didn't have the ready cash.


Map of Grid :

When the dam was being built some folks argued that Belize needed to be self sufficient in electricity production rather than buying from outside.


Are not those all CAFTA partners? As I recall Bze did not even attempt to jump in back then. I'm not saying that it is a direct result, but CAFTA would have gotten all those partners talking and it likely a spin-off outcome.

Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and was called CAFTA. In 2004, the Dominican Republic joined the negotiations, and the agreement was renamed DR-CAFTA.

Yup, same group plus Panama! = Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.


Would Guatemala's claim to Belize have hindered our participation? If Guatemala agreed to negotiate a treaty with Belize to share a grid, would she not be declaring a recognition of the country as separate and sovereign?


Don’t we have lots of agreements with Guatemala, including trade agreements? Why would this be any different?


This sharing of electrical supply is part of the Plan Puebla Panama, which, I believe, Belize is a party to. I also think that’s why we’re doing the road from Guatemala to Dump.


I haven't been paying attention or giving too much thought to this
specific issue. Its a proposal that's been long in the making, almost
since CAFTA inception. Let me do some digging and get back at you. I
rather suspect this is US initiative and they simply declined to
invite Belize in this. In the western hemisphere affairs branch (WHA)
of USDOS, they rarely group Belize with Central American Countries for
their various and sundry initiatives. BTW, I hear a Washington
DC-based Belize diplomat is in town this week so this would be a great
question to ask her to test her "mettle."


Last edited by Marty; 08/15/11 03:07 PM.
Re: Central America prepares for shared grid [Re: Marty] #413924
08/15/11 03:08 PM
08/15/11 03:08 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,801
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Plan Puebla Panamá (PPP); Integration of Regional Roads, Telecommunications and More for Regional Prosperity

A multi-billion dollar regional development plan entitled Plan Puebla Panamá (Puebla-Panama Plan in English) was initiated in 2001 by Mexico, all of the Central American countries, and Colombia. The purpose of Plan Puebla Panama is to "promote regional integration and development" of Mexico's nine most southern states (including Puebla) as well as Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá, and Colombia.

The method proposed for Plan Puebla Panamá is to fund integrated infrastructure projects throughout the region. The belief is that doing so will facilitate more and more efficient trade among the member states. The immediate focus of the plan is and will be highways, airports, and port facilities, as well as telecommunication and electric grids.

The eight initiatives of Plan Puebla Panama include the following:

. Energy Sector Integration

. Transportation Integration

. Telecommunications Integration

. Trade Facilitation

. Sustainable Development

. Human Development

. Tourism

. Disaster Prevention and Mitigation

Five distinct geographic areas are the primary focus of Plan Puebla Panamá.

. The Pacific corridor all member states, where the majority of the region's trade takes place

. The Gulf of Honduras, in order to develop trade between the Pacific and the cities in the Caribbean region

. Petén, between Puerto Cortés, Honduras to Villahermosa, Mexico

. Mexico, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

. Guatemala and the Yucatán


As of 2005 $7.7 billion (US dollars) had been funded for Plan Puebla Panama and the eventual investment is expected to reach $50 billion. This is according to figures from InterAction a US based nonprofit agency. Funding percentages are projected as follows:

Plan Puebla Panamá Funding Percentages

Regional Governments 35%
Inter-American Development Bank 24%
Private sector 15%
Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) 7.5%
World Bank 5%
Other sources 6.3%

Much of the information for this article was taken from Wikipedia. See the website address at the end of this article.

Current PPP News

According to Business News Americas the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (Cabei) have reiterated their agreement to help member countries of Plan Puebla Panamá promote projects and obtain funding. A funding and promotion committee from these three agencies was formed at the IDB annual meeting in Miami in April of 2008.

Business News Americas quotes Enrique García, executive president of CAF, as saying that PPP's integration projects are a major focus of his and the other institutions. He continues to say that integration of highways, electric and telecommunications grids as well as other PPP projects will enhance overall prosperity and social equality as they make the region more economically competitive. By reducing costs and timelines these projects will attract other, private, investors and funding for PPP. The agencies believe that promoting and supporting PPP through concession initiatives and public-private partnerships will help advance PPP's work. Mr.García also notes that CAD will help support studies regarding environment impact prevention in order to make these development projects sustainable. The financial agencies will also support feasibility studies to help attract external funding, along with private investment.

As infrastructure improvements continue in Panama and throughout the region expect sustained growth, return on local investments, and increasing economic prosperity. Panama continues its own infrastructure improvements such as the inter-oceanic highway connecting Panama City and Colon. Watch the progress of this project and the resulting economic development, especially around Colon.

ABPanama will continue to follow the progress of Plan Puebla Panamá and its effect on life and investment in Panama.

Plan Puebla Panama

Business News Americas


Re: Central America prepares for shared grid [Re: Marty] #413925
08/15/11 03:12 PM
08/15/11 03:12 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,801
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Plan Puebla - Panama Meeting in Belize

February 20, 2007

( - The Plan Puebla Panama meeting in progress in Belize will end later today with an ambitious agenda for the next six months. The meeting comes as part of the Central American Integration System, over which Belize holds the presidency. Foreign Affairs Chief Executive Officer, Amalia Mai, who holds the Presidency of the Plan Puebla Panama, shared some of the plans with us. Ambassador Amalia Mai - “Plan Puebla Panama comprises the Southern States of Mexico, Central American countries as well as Colombia who last year was admitted to Plan Puebla. So what we’re discussing with Mexico who Co-chairs Plan Puebla has come up with some new initiatives basically to revitalize Plan Puebla to make it more viable, make it more in tuned with our integration process in our region. The Vice Ministers of Central America, most of them are here along with Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and the President of the Central American Bank of Integration as a well as the Representative of the IDB.” (more)

Editor's Comment: The Plan Pueblo - Panama was started as an initiative of Mexican ex-President Vicente Fox to promote the economic growth and expansion of the region through the integration of the infrastructures and economies of the region, including the southern states of Mexico, all of Central America and Colombia. From Mexico's point of view, their north side is covered by NAFTA, they have tourism along the beaches and oil in the South. But they have been trying for years to make their Southern border region more productive for their economy with little success. Now that Mexico has their presidential elections behind them and they are not taking a turn to the left (a la Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, et al.) they can get back to the business at hand. Part of this initiative is to build a $6.8 billion dollar oil refinery in Puerto Armuelles, Panama to reduce their dependence on US refineries along the Gulf Coast that are subject to disruptions thanks to hurricanes.

And while the purpose and goal of the Plan Puebla - Panama is to improve the living conditions of the people who already live there, one of the unintended consequences will be to make the region more attractive for international direct foreign investment and retirement. And if you think about it, any remote piece of land suddenly becomes valuable once you have access to basic services such as electricity, drinking water, cable TV and Internet, transportation (good highways), health-care and consumer products. Have you ever flown over the coasts of Central America? Try it some time. Get in a small plane and buzz the coast until your butt falls asleep. There are miles and miles and miles of undeveloped (beautiful) beachfront property which remains practically worthless because it's inaccessible, dangerous, or has no services. Tom Hanks had a nice piece of beachfront property in "Castaway" but he ended up going back to the rat-race anyway. No cable TV, and the dental care sucked.

(article continues)

Love FM Reporter


Ambassador Mai

“Basically to restructure Plan Puebla, there are some areas in which there might be some overlap, some projects that might have been put forward that have never taken off. Basically we are looking to stream line the whole Plan Puebla Panama, give it new life, new blood and then we can move forward. Basically we hope we can accomplish all these measures, have a very extensive discussion on it, prepare a document which will lead to a summit on Plan Puebla in Mexico City, the possibilities in April.”

Love FM Reporter


Ambassador Mai

“We’re concerned of course about the integration process. Belize has joined in the integration process. We’re working together with Central America on many issues. Within Plan Puebla there’s various initiatives, the lead for Belize in Plan Puebla is on Tourism so we’re talking to all our colleagues in the region and Mexico to see and of course in consultations with the Ministry of Tourism to see what we will do about Tourism but this meeting is not really addressing the initiatives of Plan Puebla. This is basically a meeting that is re-energizing Plan Puebla. There are various initiatives, there’s Science and Technology, there’s Tourism, there’s Telecommunications, there’s various other issues on the table that each country has. Colombia as the newest member has basically assumed a role of international cooperation, see how we can cooperate together and they have made some specific offers in regards to that. “

Mai says Belize can expect to make positive strides over the next six months of this presidency.

Ambassador Mai

"We certainly work closer in Central America on this cause you have to understand there’s also the issue of SICA which we’re also chairing right now and there’s also various institutions in the region that we have to work together. In respect to Plan Puebla, right now, we have to believe that it will put forward again, its own initiative with respect of Tourism, it is something that we have been carrying out as our lead responsibility and so we will be working closely with Central America on that. “

The Plan Puebla Panama is a mechanism to promote integration and sustainable development of the region. Each country holds the presidency Pro Tempore on a rotational six months basis.   

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