Spanish-owned Union Eolica Panameña, or UEP, started unloading the sections of the giant towers that will hold the turbines at the $440 million Penonome wind farm, the first facility of its kind in Panama and the largest in Central America.

The first two barges carrying the components for the turbines arrived earlier this month at the port of Cristobal in the Caribbean city of Colón, the company said.

The equipment will be hauled over the summer to Penonome, a community in the central province of Cocle, where the wind farm is located.

The transfer of the wind farm components over the 230 kilometers (about 143 miles) separating Colón from Penonome will the biggest logistical operation in Panama since the construction of the Panama Canal, UEP said.

The wind farm will have 110 towers equipped with turbines on its 19,000 hectares (46,913 acres).

Some 75 percent of Penonome's electricity generation will occur during the dry season - December to May - allowing the country to save water and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, especially oil.

The wind farm will cut Panama's CO2 emissions by nearly 450,000 tons annually, UEP said.

Panama has an installed generating capacity of 1,426 MW, with hydroelectric power plants accounting for nearly half of electricity output and the rest coming from thermal power plants, government figures show. 

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