Ecuador fund approves studies of 228-MW Toachi-Pilaton

The technical committee of Ecuador’s energy and hydrocarbon investment fund has approved feasibility studies of the 228-MW Toachi-Pilaton hydroelectric project on the Toachi and Pilaton rivers in Pichincha Province.

Ecuador’s Ministerio de Economia y Finanzas said September 7 the technical committee of the Fondo Ecuatoriano de Inversion en los Sectores Energetico e Hidrocarburifero (FEISEH) approved the information on technical, economic, social, and environmental feasibility of Toachi-Pilaton. The agency said the hydropower project would replace thermal energy, eliminating those environmental effects and reducing costly imports of diesel fuel.

Toachi-Pilaton, previously estimated at 190 MW, is to involve construction of two hydropower plants, Sarapullo and Alluriquin. (HNN 5/9/06) Hidrotoapi S.A., a company owned by Pichincha, received a development concession in 2005 from Ecuador regulator Consejo Nacional de Electricidad (Conelec) and holds a US$170 million line of credit from Brazilian development bank BNDES.

The committee approval means FEISEH could provide financing to the project in one of two ways, US$84 million in direct capitalization or US$336 million in credit.

Funds for FEISEH come from the sale of oil from fields the government confiscated from Occidental Petroleum Co. in 2006. Funds are used either for direct investments or for credits to developers. The technical committee recently approved feasibility studies of four other hydro projects totaling more than 2,000 MW. (HNN 8/29/07)

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