Home Institution

Georgetown University

Publication Date

Fall 2023

Program Name

Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation


The Penonomé wind projects fit into a long history of previous internationally financed development projects in Panama, including those from the Clean Development Mechanism. A moderate level of research has been conducted on other Clean Development Mechanism projects, but despite contributing to 5% of Panama’s energy needs and constituting the largest wind park in Central America, the Penonomé wind farms remain little researched. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with relevant people associated with the project or with relevant information to gain more information about the case study. Using the information processed from these reviews and information from publicly available resources, the sustainability of the development of the Penonomé wind farms were assessed using the Agence Française de Développement’s Sustainable Development Analysis metrics. Notable results included community engagement on the part of the developers, environmental and social impact measures conducted, carbon reductions thanks to displacement of fossil fuel producing plants in the national interconnected system, remote control of the wind farm on the part of the turbine manufacturer from outside the country, and alleged ties between the manufacturer of the wind turbines and modern slavery practices in Xinjiang, China. In all, the wind project contained many minor and major sustainability issues, as well as minor and major contributions to sustainability. The project’s effects were deemed to be mostly positive across the 7 dimensions of the Sustainable Development Analysis metrics, with the notable exception of allegedly exacerbating social inequalities in Xinjiang, China, and the remote operation of the wind farm by the turbine’s manufacturers.


Climate | Development Studies | Latin American Studies | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Sustainability


Article Location