Transmission linking Panama, Columbia to go up this year

February 29, 2012 — Colombia's state-owned transmission firm ISA will begin construction on a 372-mile transmission line connecting the Colombian and Panamanian power grids this year.

The line will have an initial transmission capacity of 300 MW, with the option to be extended up to 600 MW. An auction for allocating the capacity is planned for May 2012, with the first power transactions between the two countries expected to take place in early 2015.

The firm plans to participate in tenders for new transmission projects with values of up to $300 million across both Colombia and Peru, as well a July round in Brazil organized by power market regulator Aneel.

ISA will also look to enter the Chilean transmission market for the first time this year, through an upcoming tender for trunk line transmission projects on the Southern Cone country's central SIC power grid.

Projects to be tendered include the extension of the SIC's 500 kV transmission line from Polpaico, just north of capital Santiago in region V, up to the Cardones substation in region III. The 466 mile line is seen as vital in giving greater power access to mining projects under development to the north of Santiago.

Contracts to build several 220 kV lines and new substations are also to be offered. Chile's national energy commission has previously said it expects investment in projects offered through the tender to hit $900 million.

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