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Enel Chile says 150-MW Los Cóndores hydro will be postponed, warns of rising costs

Enel Chile, the local subsidiary of Italian firm Enel, has postponed the estimated completion date for its 150-MW Los Cóndores hydroelectric plant in southern Maule region.

Additionally, investment cost for the project was expected to be US$957 million but has now increased by US$195 million, according to a filing to financial markets regulator CMF. The project will now enter operations in the third quarter of 2023 instead of the first half of 2021.

The project is being built on Laguna del Maule reservoir. The powerhouse will contain two Pelton turbine-generator units. Endesa Chile originally began investing in the facility in 2008.

According to BNamericas, Los Cóndores was originally expected to enter operations in 2018 with a budget of US$400 million and was delayed several times as costs ballooned. Some delays were related to changes in the construction of the surge shaft required by environmental evaluation service SEA. Other delays resulted from unexpected technical difficulties related to the geology of the area.

According to the filing, the financial impact of the new delay will vary according to factors such as the future marginal cost of energy, power demand, the local exchange rate and fuel prices.