Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
by Staff Writers
Panama City (AFP) May 7, 2013
Up against the wall in a drought-sparked energy crisis, Panama said Tuesday it would shut high schools and universities for three days, in a desperate bid to reduce power usage.
The Central American nation of 3.6 million has a booming economy -- Latin America's fastest-growing at 10 percent a year.
But it depends heavily on power from hydroelectric plants fueled by water and the rainy season is a month late, part of an increasingly common pattern scientists and forecasters have linked to climate change.
Government officials have been warning that the country, which normally has water to spare, is now perilously close to having to ration power, and are trying anything and everything to avoid that.
"We are hoping that with these steps we will be in a place where we reduce demand" significantly, presidential spokesman Roberto Henriquez said.
"If we do this for these (three) days, I think we will be able to avoid rationing, which Henriquez warned could "stop, or seriously affect the nation's economy."
On Monday, President Ricardo Martinelli said: "I ask all Panamanians to save energy, because (lack of) rains is seriously undermining our power grid and we do not want to end up rationing."
Power supplies are only part of the fallout from the drought.
Emergencies have been declared in several provinces as hundreds of cows have died in the parched conditions, and farmers have had to significantly delay planting.
Just under a third of the country's power is generated at hydroelectric plants. More than half is from plants burning conventional fuels -- like diesel and coal. Only four percent is from renewable sources.
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|