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Bridging the Darien Gap

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Preliminary analysis is underway, to determine whether or not it's feasible to run an energy pipeline through the Darien Gap, which divides Colombia and Panama. Colombia has a surplus of electrical energy, mostly hydro, produced at a cost that is generally lower than that of any Central American power generator. Colombia also produces natural gas and petroleum products.
The two countries have in previous years looked at the option of an undersea energy pipeline. However, costs were higher than originally expected. Previous efforts to build an overland connection between Panama and Colombia through the Darien Gap have failed, as the swampy terrain has tended to swallow any type of construction.
A pipeline, however. would be easier to install and maintain. If Colombian electricity were to reach Colombia, it could be exported to the rest of Central America over the regional energy grid, set to launch in 2011. At the same time, environmental groups have opposed the concept, as the Darien Gap may be an important buffer, preventing plant and animal-borne diseases from moving between South and North America. 
  • Consulting engineers
  • Environmentalists