Bolivia names Canada firm to study 800-MW Cachuela Esperanza

Empresa Nacional de Electricidad (ENDE) has awarded a contract to a Canadian firm to perform studies and final design of the 800-MW Cachuela Esperanza hydroelectric project in northeastern Bolivia’s Beni Department.

ENDE, a government-owned utility, signed the contract August 28 with TECSULT-AECOM in a ceremony attended by Bolivia President Evo Morales.

Energy Minister Carlos Villegas said the Canadian consultant is to study final design of the US$1.5 billion project, including technical, economic, financial, social, and environmental aspects.

The study, which is to be complete by July 2009, also is expected to identify other possible projects in the area of Cachuela Esperanza on the Beni River upstream from where it joins the Mamore River to form the Madeira River that flows into Brazil.

Electricity Vice Minister Miguel Gaston Yague Chirveches said TECSULT-AECOM also is to study possible cumulative environmental effects of Cachuela Esperanza and two big Brazilian projects proposed for the Madeira, 3,300-MW Jirau (HNN 8/27/08) and 3,150-MW Santo Antonio. (HNN 8/26/08) As recently as 2003, Brazilian utilities had studied developing the Bolivian project in conjunction with Jirau and Santo Antonio. That proposal, with the Portuguese name Cachoeira Esperanza, totaled 3,000 MW. (HNN 2/27/08)

Yague said tender documents for Cachuela Esperanza’s turbine-generators should be ready by the end of the year. He added that final design of the project dam should be complete by March 2009 to allowing bidding on that portion of civil works.

Yague said it was hoped construction of the dam could begin by the end of 2009, with construction of the powerhouse to begin by mid-2010. TECSULT-AECOM said construction would require seven to eight years.

Upon completion, Cachuela Esperanza is expected to supply the needs of Bolivia’s Amazon Region and to provide additional power for export to Brazil.

For information, contact Empresa Nacional de Electricidad, Av. Ballivian, No. O-503, Edificio Colon, Piso 7, Cochambamba 565 Bolivia; (591) 4-4520317; Fax: (591) 4-4520318; E-mail: ende@ende.bo; Internet: www.ende.bo.

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