Chile adding small hydroelectric facilities

The government of Chile announced action on two small hydro projects, which combined, would have an estimated installed capacity of 7.1 MW, costing a total of US$37.1 million.

According to local reports, environmental authorities in Los Lagos, Chile, have received an environmental impact study for the 6-MW El Gato hydroelectric facility. The project is a run-of-river hydropower plant proposed for southern Chile.

Norcan Hydraulic Turbine Inc., based in Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada, is negotiating with Chilean local firm El Gato Hydro Spa. to provide turbines for the US$30.5 million hydroelectric facility that will feed power into the central SIC grid.

Authorities in Chile’s southern Biobà­o region will review plans local firm Hidro Munilque submitted for the Minicentrales Hidroeléctricas La Vià±a, Alto La Vià±a, El Brinco y La Bifurcada project. The project is a 1.1 MW small hydropower project that officials estimate will cost US$3.6 million.

The government of Chile has stated in published reports that it has a goal of adding 100 small hydroelectric facilities — projects that have capacity under 20 MW — by the end of 2018.

Mini-hydro plants supplied 2.6% of Chile’s total power generation in September.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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