French multinational electric utility GDF SUEZ has commenced full commercial operations at its 100% owned Dos Mares hydro plant in Panama.

Situated in the Chiriqui province, the Dos Mares hydro plant is a 118MW run-of-the river facility that contains three power plants – Gualaca, Lorena and Prudencia.

One of the units of the plant was commissioned recently, while two others have been operational since 2011; combined, the facility is worth $460m (€360m).

GDF SUEZ chairman and CEO Gerard Mestrallet remarked that Dos Mares not only supports Panama’s rapid growth in energy demand, but also contributes to the diversification of its energy mix.

"This project demonstrates our commitment to renewables and underlines our focus on fast growing markets," Mestrallet added.

About 100MW of capacity from the plant is under a ten-year power purchase agreement – from 2013 to 2022 – with several distribution companies.

The Dos Mares hydroelectric complex is estimated to generate 6,000GWh of power for the specified period, while displacing 350,000t of carbon emissions a year.

GDF SUEZ Energy Central America contributes to the supply of 25% of the country’s energy demand.