Bolivia’s efforts to become a major exporter of electricity took another step forward last week with the connection of the 55-MW San Jose 1 hydroelectric plant to the South American country’s national grid.
Inaugurated in a ceremony that featured President Evo Morales, the plant is the first component of a two-powerhouse complex. The initial stage cost about US$140 million and was financed in large part by China.
Chinese companies like Sinohydro, which was awarded a contract to complete large-scale civil works associated with the San Jose plants in 2014, stand to gain much in Bolivia, should the country maintain its power sector growth as desired by the government. The Chinese conglomerate was awarded a contract in August to construct Bolivia’s 280-MW Ivirizu.
Speaking at the inauguration, Morales said he wants Bolivia to generate 3,000 MW-worth of hydroelectric power by 2020, potentially allowing the country to export more than a GW of electricity to neighboring countries.
San Jose 1’s sister station, the 69-MW San Jose 2, is expected to be complete by the end of the year.