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PANAMA - Energy & Mining

Carlos Manuel Mosquera Castillo

General Manager, ETESA

Bio

Carlos Manuel Mosquera Castillo is an electromechanical engineer graduated from the University of Panama and holds a master’s degree in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration and a diploma in electricity market from the Technological University of Panama as well as a senior management postgraduate in international public administration from the National Administration Institute of Portugal. He has an extensive background in the energy sector. Until 2019, he was an advisor to the national electricity market.

“We just received this ISO certification and had to work for two years to adjust our process and quality.”
ETESA is working on various projects in relation to expanding transmission system nationally as well as the further development of renewable energies.
What steps is ETESA taking to make Panama stand out in the energy sector?

We have installed STATCOM technology via two static compensators. One has been up and running in Llano Sanchéz since August, and the second one will begin in Panama in late 2022. STATCOM technology is a new UNCTAD technology that compensates the system with the necessary requirements and regulation of the voltage. Traditionally, compensations were done individually, and one would be a fast compensator, and another would be of slower pace. This technology compensates both together, and when there is a high level of voltage, this technology can react quickly to what is needed. We are the first country in Central America to have this technology and the fourth in the world. There are only a handful of countries working with this technology. We just received this ISO certification and had to work for two years to adjust our process and quality. Once we had modified the processes, we had to be audited by ISO. Moving forward, we will now work to retain this certification and maintain a high level of quality so that we will be prepared for any future inspections. It is important to reach this level of quality in all parts of the system as a whole, including all aspects such as human resources and security. We are the first company with state merit and one of the first to receive the title within the electrical sector. There are others in Colombia and Costa Rica, though only a few.

What are the main implications of the fourth transmission line, and what is its role in your 2023 expansion plan?

The fourth transmission line is a renowned and popular project. First, it will meet the planned electrical transmission program in the country. This program cannot happen without the necessary infrastructures being prepared. The most important factor is the development of renewable energies. We have permanent and temporary licenses for over 800MW that are already authorized to construct renewable energy plants. In the short to medium term, we need to reach 2,000MW, which is approximately the national demand. We need the infrastructure in order to provide this. This will also improve the security and boost confidence. It will also improve the regional interconnection. The most important factor is that this will help us reach the development of renewable energies. In October 2021, we reached a definitive agreement with the region on where the fourth line will pass, and we are now at the final stage of the entire process. The project is of great importance. In each stage of the project, we look at it from an internal and external point of view, which will ensure we adhere to the deadlines. We have also established CEFOSAT, a high voltage training center. Before this, there was only a small school; now, we have established a high-level educational center to certify all electricians and technicians in working with high voltage levels. There are no schools in the world that specify this, and we have formed agreements with universities to teach this specific knowledge.

What are your current focuses, and how will you put them into practice until the end of your administration in 2024?

We have various projects in relation to the expansion plan of the system on a national level. This includes various transmission projects that will continue until 2024. Excluding the fourth line, we are talking about approximately USD250 million. One of the key projects is the Sabanitas projects, which will help us maintain more balance throughout the system and is an important project. Another project involves the construction of three new substations and three new lines to expand the dimension of the transmission system. For us, these are extremely important, and we are heavily focused on the development of renewable energies. We are working together with our collaborators and the country as a team to reach these important goals.

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