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Mexico, Guatemala agree on power system interconnection under Puebla-Panama Plan

Mexican and Guatemalan officials have reached an agreement on a plan to connect their countries’ electric power systems under the Puebla-Panama Plan, an initiative to promote economic and social development and integration in the Mesoamerican region, the Inter-American Development Bank said today

The agreement resulted from meetings held on Monday and Tuesday at the IDB by the Puebla-Panama Plan’s Executive Commission, which includes delegates from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.

Officials from Mexico’s Energy Ministry and the Federal Electricity Commission, Guatemala’s Energy and Mining Ministry and the National Institute for Electrification took part in the talks.

The Guatemalan-Mexican electricity interconnection project is part of the Puebla-Panama Plan’s initiative on energy integration. It will complement the SIEPAC, a $320 million project to develop Central America’s first regional power grid transmission grid and a wholesale market for electricity.

The IDB and Spain will support the SIEPAC project, which involves utilities in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama, with $240 million in financing.

Guatemala’s and Mexico’s officials agreed to work on a project to build an 80-km, 400-kilovolt power line that would connect a Mexican substation at Tapachula and a Guatemalan substation at Los Brillantes. The project’s cost was estimated at $30 million.

During Monday’s talks, the Puebla-Panama Plan commissioners and officials from the IDB, the UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean, the Central American Economic Integration Bank, the Central American Integration System and the INCAE business school reviewed the progress made in implementing the Mesoamerican plan since it was launched in March.

The Puebla-Panama Plan seeks to speed up development and integration among Central America’s nations and Mexico’s southern and southeastern states through sustainable and participatory projects. The plan’s energy initiative seeks to improve the region’s power infrastructure in order to reduce the cost of energy and attract investments.