Latin bank helps fund rehab of two 50-MW Nicaragua hydros

The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has awarded a US$40.2 million loan to Nicaragua for rehabilitation of two 50-MW hydroelectric projects.

The IADB board approved the loan December 10 to refurbish the 50-MW Centroamerica and 50-MW Santa Barbara hydroelectric projects. The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) awarded a contract to the Applus-Norcontrol-Nipsa consortium in 2007 to perform a feasibility study of rehabilitating the projects. (HNN 12/12/07)

Generadora Hidroelectrica S.A. (Hidrogesa), a subsidiary of Nicaraguan utility Empresa Nicaraguense de Electricidad (Enel), operates the plants, which began operation in 1965 and 1971. The plants operate in a cascade, with Centroamerica using water from Apanas Dam that then is discharged to Virgen Dam where Santa Barbara reuses the water before it is released to the Viejo River.

The IADB investments are part of an integrated electricity support program with parallel investments in transmission and transformers for the Nicaragua power system. IADB awarded US$32.7 million to Nicaragua for that purpose in 2007.

IADB said its funding is supplemented with loans totaling US$40.8 million from CABEI and the European Investment Bank. Nicaragua is investing US$4.8 million.

Hidrogesa is to carry out the program with Enel, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and national power transmission company ENATREL.

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