IDB, JICA provide funding for Canaveral-Rio Lindo hydropower plant overhauls

The Inter-American Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency have approved more than US$160 million in loans to the government of Honduras to overhaul and upgrade the country’s 138-MW Canaveral-Rio Lindo hydroelectric power complex.

The funding is being awarded under the Co-Financing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects (CORE), which was established between the IDB and JICA in 2012.

Per the agreement, IDB will provide $23 million and JICA $135.4 million, with local agencies covering the remainder of what is expected to be a $167.2 million initiative.

The pair of facilities include the 29-MW Canaveral and 109-MW Rio Lindo, both of which are located in the Cortes region and account for about 35% of the country’s total hydropower supply.

IDB’s loan is intended to help state-owned operator Empresa Nacional de Energia Electrica (ENEE) with several initiatives, including prolonging the plants’ lives by at least 30 years, ensuring the supply of at least 10% of the country’s power demand at a lower cost, improving generating efficiency, reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The project is also expected to increase Canaveral-Rio Lindo’s generating capacity by 20.8 MW.

“The IDB acknowledges the country’s effort in the process of reforms designed to enhance the sector’s financial sustainability, security and efficiency,” IDB project team leader Carlos Jacome said. “This hydroelectric complex is vital for energy operation of the National Interconnection System (SIN) and its synchronization with the Central American Electrical Generation System, producing some of the lowest generating cost in the country.”

Construction on Canaveral — Honduras’ first hydro plant — began in 1960, with two 14.5 MW turbine units coming on line in 1964. Meanwhile, Rio Lindo’s first pair of 20 MW units began operation in 1971, with additional units following.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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