The Generadora Gatún is a 670MW gas-fired combined cycle power project under construction in the Colón province, Panama. It is planned to be built with a total investment of £760m ($1bn).

Group Energy Gas Panama, which is owned by the InterEnergy Group (51%) and AES Panama (49%), is responsible for the construction and operation of the project.

InterEnergy Group made an investment decision for the development of Generadora Gatún combined cycle power plant in June 2021.

Construction on the project commenced in March 2022 and the power generation facility is expected to start operations in 2024. Upon completion, the project is anticipated to become the largest combined cycle gas turbine power plant in Panama.

The Generadora Gatún natural gas-fired project is expected to replace the thermal power plants that were taken off from the electrical system in the country.

Location and site details

The Generadora Gatún combined cycle power project is located in Colón, the capital city of Colón Province in Panama.

The project site is situated on Telfers island, near the Colón port, adjacent to the Panama Canal.

Generadora Gatun combined cycle power project make-up

The Generadora Gatún combined cycle power project will be equipped with two General Electric (GE)-supplied 7F.05 gas turbines connected to A63 generators, and two triple pressure heat recovery steam generators (HRSG).

The advanced 7F-class gas turbine technology is designed to deliver a 3D aerodynamic hot gas path and a 14-stage enhanced compressor to improve the performance of a power plant.

The power plant will also include one STF-D600 steam turbine connected to its A63 steam generator along with all the auxiliary systems.

It will also feature GE’s integrated Mark VIe safety control system, digital cybersecurity solutions and remote monitoring diagnostic solutions.

Gas supply

The Generadora Gatún combined cycle power project will receive natural gas from AES’s liquified natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification facility in Colón. The plant will be connected to the terminal through a gas pipeline.

The LNG terminal designed with a storage capacity of 180,000 cubic metres (m3) was constructed in 2018 for Panama and Central America. It was the first facility to supply LNG in the country.

Power evacuation

The electricity generated from the Generadora Gatún combined cycle power plant will be evacuated into the grid through a new 230kV power transmission line.

The transmission line will be constructed between the Sabanitas and Panama III electrical substations.

Project financing

The Generadora Gatún combined cycle power project secured financing from Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) along with its co-investors through a senior secured term loan investment of £133m ($175m) in Group Energy Gas Panama.

GIP has made the investment through Global Infrastructure Partners Capital Solutions Fund II (GIP CAPS II), which is part of GIP's Credit platform (GIP Credit).

The financing was offered for the acquisition of Generadora de Gatun (Gatun), the owner of the natural gas cogeneration power plant.

The rest of the total financing to construct the plant consists of the proceeds from senior debt at the Gatun level and equity investments made by the sponsors AES Panama and InterEnergy.

Contractors involved

General Electric (GE) was awarded a contract to manufacture and supply power generation equipment for the Generadora Gatún project in March 2022. A 20-year service agreement for inspections, tests, repair services and parts for outages is also included in the contract.

GE is expected to prepare a customised service agreement by working with InterEnergy and AES to provide remote monitoring from its Atlanta-based monitoring and diagnostic centre to reduce risks and disruption and prevent the plant’s downtime.

URS prepared the environmental impact assessment (EIA) study report for the project in June 2021.

Morgan & Morgan Legal provided advisory services for Gatun and AES Panama in raising the senior and mezzanine financing for the Generadora Gatún combined cycle power project in March 2022.

Generadora Gatun to diversify Panama’s energy mix

The Generadora Gatún power plant will contribute to the diversification of Panama’s energy mix, which mainly consists of hydroelectric power generation. The plant is expected to allow the addition of more renewable energy in the future with its operational flexibility.

The project will also support the country’s goal to increase renewable energy share to 70% of the total energy production by 2050, as outlined in Panama’s National Energy Plan.