No user image
Monica_55905 Nov 07

Panama: Decarbonization and energy transition

Panama: Decarbonization and energy transition image
A dialogue with Jorge Rivera Staff, National Secretary of Energy of Panama, about the country's energy future, its decarbonization objectives and the role of Panama in regional integration.
Panama is very focused on decarbonization, what are the most immediate activities that will contribute to increasing the sustainability of its energy plans?

The decarbonization of the energy sector and the economy in general, is one of the 4 axes (4Ds: Decarbonization, Digitization, Decentralization and Democratization) of the Energy Transition Agenda of Panama, whose strategic guidelines were approved in November last year, and that we are developing through the formulation of 6 national strategies during 2021, which are also aligned with the United Nations SDGs, especially SDG 7 and the commitments of the Paris Agreement. In fact, the energy component of Panama's NDC1 sent by the environmental authorities in December 2020, is based on the content of the Energy Transition Agenda.

As immediate measures in terms of decarbonization, we are working on the largest GHG component in the country, such as the use of fossil fuels for land transportation, so in the implementation of the National Electric Mobility Strategy we are working to have a Law on Electric mobility that, among other things, establishes tax and non-tax incentives for this type of mobility, we are also working to draw up a first framework agreement for the purchase of electric vehicles by government entities, and we are also supporting MIBUS (main provider of the country's mass bus transport service) in a possible first purchase of electric buses in its fleet replacement process.

What are the biggest challenges to achieve these goals?

The biggest challenges at the moment are the institutional strengthening that must be developed to create the conditions and promote these changes in paradigms, regulations and business models on the one hand, and on the other the necessary adjustments to boost investment and financing for these objectives. , in an environment of as much uncertainty as the one we are experiencing due to the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic. In this sense, we prepared a first economic impact study that allows us to incorporate quantitative data into the proposals for policies and programs contained in the energy transition agenda, to make better decisions in the short and long term, not only on the part of the authorities, but also also of companies, academia and citizens.

How do you see the role of Panama in LATAM, within the framework of regional integration?

Panama has always played a role as a meeting point for dialogue and regional integration in all areas. Our geographical position, which is our greatest strategic natural resource, leads us to that mission and vocation. On the energy issue, it is no exception and we are firm believers in the expansion and reinforcement of SIEPAC and the Central American MER, both in the regulatory, technical and commercial aspects. We are also taking firm steps in the electrical interconnection with Colombia, which in turn becomes the bridge to finally unite the electrical systems of the entire continent from Panama to Canada and from Colombia to Argentina. Energy security, collaboration in innovation and improvement in quality conditions and energy prices for the citizens of our country and our region are the objectives that regional integration offers us in the short, medium and long term.

Dr. Rivera Staff will participate as a speaker at the Latin America and Caribbean Gas Conference (LGC) on December 1-2, 2021. More information here.