Today, the use of electric energy is more than a need. That’s why the search of alternative electricity generation is increasing in our country (I am talking about Panama), but how much more we will lose?
For example, a few years ago the construction of a wind farm was planned in Fortuna Forest Reserve. This Project wanted to install 75 wind-turbines (in two stages) able to generate 150 megawatts. According to the environmental impact study reviewed by the National Authority of Panama the localization of the wind farm was selected based on the wind power in the zone (14 m/s). But the study did not show the number of trees that would be felled.
The Fortuna Forest Reserve has 19500 hectares of montane wet forest and the average temperature is 16º C. It is located at north of the province of Chiriqui, corregimiento of Gualaca. It forms part of the Mesomerican Corridor; with a huge diversity of plants (170 species/ha) and a diverse community of animals- most of them threatened species, including jaguar, tapir and puma.
Studies have been carried out in this area showing the relevance of the preservation of the forest, from surveys of trees and animals to monitoring of the effects of climate change on a tropical forest.
I am not against the use of alternative ways to generate electricity as wind farms (because the energy is clean and cheap to produce, if we compare with the conventional forms to get electricity), but we need to pay attention to the places selected for the construction of such huge structures. In the case of Fortuna Reserve, the wind-turbines would also have a severe impact on the capacity to generate hydropower.
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