Colombia hydro utility eyes overseas expansion

Empresas Publicas de Medellin, Colombia’s largest public services company, says it will seek water and electric energy deals as part of overseas expansion plans to bring its annual income to US$5 billion over the next eight years.

EPM Director General Juan Felipe Gaviria told a Reuters Latin American Investment Summit in Colombia that the company saw Panama as a possible platform for expanding in the energy generation sector with other opportunities in South America.

EPM has begun taking steps in Ecuador and Peru, for example, with its recent move to seek a water deal in Lima and sees opportunities in Central America once an electric energy link is established between Colombia and Panama.

“Central America is one of the largest opportunities once there is a connection between Colombia and Panama, which we should have around 2010 or 2011,” Gaviria said. “It is probable we will have to do it with partners as I believe you cannot enter into a foreign country alone … with overseas investments one has to be very careful.”

Porce 3 under way; Porce 4, Pescadero-Ituango in the wings

EPM currently is involved in one of the most important Colombia infrastructure projects, the construction of the 660-MW Porce 3 hydroelectric plant on the Porce River in Antioquia Department at a cost of US$1 billion. (HNN 2/26/07)

Gaviria said he expects two other projects, 235-MW Porce 4 on the Porce River and 1,800-MW Pescadero-Ituango on the Ituango River, to be operating by 2020.

EPM, owned by Medellin city, offers integrated public services to Medellin city and its surrounding municipalities and has a current annual income of about US$1.5 billion.

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