Argentina province to seek bids to build 480-MW Chihuido 1

Argentina’s Neuquen Province announced it will seek bids in a month for construction of the 480-MW Chihuido 1 hydroelectric project on the province’s Neuquen River.

The coordinator of the management unit of Chihuido 1 and 2, President Elias Sapag of the Autoridad Interjurisdiccional de Cuencas, said May 13 that the provincial government will issue a call for bidders to develop Chihuido 1.

In addition to generating electricity, the project’s 17,000-hectare reservoir is to reduce flooding and guarantee water for consumption, irrigation, and industry. The province said construction is expected to require three to four years at a cost between US$900 million and US$1 billion.

Sapag said the project is not a public work and will require no funds from the government or the province. The winning bidder is to build, finance, operate, and maintain the multi-purpose project.

The official said Neuquen is negotiating a power purchase agreement with the Argentine government that would use the government’s �energy-plus� program providing increased power rates. It also is negotiating tax exemptions for import of generating equipment.

The province said initially there would be a call to qualify companies according to technical, economic, and historical ability in construction dams. Those who are qualified will be invited to participate in the second part of the bidding process.

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