Spanish wind developer Unión Eólica Panameña (UEP) and Chinese turbine manufacturer Goldwind have landed US$71mn in project finance for the first phase of the Penonome wind farm.

Banco Internacional de Costa Rica led the finance package, and was joined by Banco Espirito Santo de Investimento (joint mandated lead arranger), Caja de Ahorros – Panamá (manager), Banco Nacional de Panamá, Banco G&T Continental (lenders) and Multibank (all lenders), Citibank (collateral agent and depositary bank) and Banksville Partners (structuring advisor).

Goldwind and UEP are joint sponsors of the 220MW wind project of the Penonome project, the country’s first wind farm located in the Panamanian province of Coclé.

Once online in 2014, the project will be the largest of its kind in Central America. Power generated from the facility will flow to Panama’s national grid via utility company, Altenergy, a subsidiary of GDF Suez Energy Central America.

“This financing demonstrates the commitment by the sponsors, the bank group and the government of Panama to the realisation of the advantages of wind power in Panama,” comments Tim Rosenzweig, CEO of Goldwind USA.

The deal covers the first phase of the project – 55MW of the total planned – and buys 22 turbines from Goldwind.

“The Penonome project will strengthen Panama’s energy matrix by complementing existing technologies and creating more balance and security for the national electrical system. Importantly, this first phase lays a solid foundation for the development of UEP’s future wind farm projects in the country,” said Rafael Perez-Pire Angulo, UEP’s general manager in Panama.