ECLAC Publishes Central America’s Power Generation Statistics
June 2012: The Subregional headquarters in Mexico of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has published its annual collection of statistics for 2011 regarding power generation in six countries of Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama. It finds that of the 660 megawatts (MW) installed capacity that came online in the region in 2011, only 85 MW involved fossil fuel (the coal-fired Palmas plant in Guatemala).
The remainder (575 MW, or 87.1%) came from hydroelectric plants in Costa Rica and Panama, wind turbines in Costa Rica and Honduras, 13 small hydro projects across several countries, four cogeneration projects at sugar mills, and landfill gas use in El Salvador.
According to the June 2012 publication, the regional averages for electricity generation were: hydroelectric, 51.6%; oil and gas, 34%; geothermal, 7.6%; coal, 3.9%; cogeneration using bagasse in sugar mills, 3.8%; and wind, 1.8%. The renewable portions of electricity generation in each country during were: Costa Rica, 91.2%; Guatemala, 64.2%; El Salvador, 63.3%; Panama, 52.9%; Honduras, 43.5%; and Nicaragua, 33.1%.
The ECLAC statistics show an average 4.2% rise in electricity consumption during 2011 across the six countries, ranging from a 1.1% increase in El Salvador to 6.9% in Panama. Intra-regional trade in electricity stayed relatively flat compared to 2010 at 1.260 gigawatts (GWh), with nearly half of these (525.6 GWh) involving export of power from Mexico to Guatemala. [Publication: Centroamérica: Estadísticas de Producción del Subsector Eléctrico, 2011 (in Spanish)]