Latin bank approves funding for Venezuela’s 2,320-MW Manuel Piar

The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has approved an US$800 million supplementary loan for construction of the 2,320-MW Manuel Piar (Tocoma) hydroelectric project on Venezuela’s Caroni River.

IADB increased the supplementary loan amount from US$400 million that originally was proposed for the project, which began construction with initial river diversion in 2002. (HydroWorld 9/22/08)

State utility Electrificacion del Caroni (Edelca) is building the project, which it will operate and maintain. Impregilo of Italy began work at the site in 2007. Manuel Piar includes a 300-meter-long, 82-meter-tall concrete dam and hydropower station.

In January 2008, Argentina hydro industry supplier IMPSA signed a US$520 million contract to supply 10 232-MW Kaplan turbines, generators, and other equipment. The units are scheduled to begin operating between 2012 and 2014.

The supplementary financing will be used for primary civil works, to replace part of the original local counterparty financing, and to partly cover increased costs. The 20-year loan has a six-year grace period and an adjustable interest rate, IADB announced July 29, 2009.

IADB approved a US$750 million loan for the US$3.06 billion project in 2005. In January 2008, Latin lender Corporacion Andina de Fomento (CAF) announced the signing of a US$600 million loan to help complete the project. CAF, the Andean Development Corp., provided a previous US$300 million loan to the project in 2004.

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez renamed the Tocoma project Manuel Piar in 2006. It will bring to four the number of hydro stations powered by the Caroni River. (HydroWorld 5/8/09)

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