Ecuador fund invests in its first hydro project, 26-MW Ocana

The technical committee of Ecuador’s energy and hydrocarbon investment fund made its first actual investment in a hydroelectric project September 25, providing US$14 million to the 26-MW Ocana project and making the Ecuador government a shareholder in its operating company.

Ecuador’s Ministerio de Economia y Finanzas said the technical committee of the Fondo Ecuatoriano de Inversion en los Sectores Energetico e Hidrocarburifero (FEISEH) agreed to make the capital investment in Ecuador utility Empresa Generadora del Austro S.A. (ElecAustro), which is developing Ocana in Ecuador’s Canar Province.

The US$14 million capital investment is part of US$36.7 million the fund approved for Ocana. The remaining US$22.6 million will be in the form of a 10-year loan.

Ocana is to cost a total of US$44.2 million, of which FEISEH is providing 83 percent. ElecAustro is to contribute the remaining funds from its own resources.

ElecAustro currently is seeking bids by November 5 to build the project. (HNN 8/28/07) When Ocana goes on line in 2009, the economy ministry said, it will generate power for 4 cents per kWh, helping meet demand in southern Ecuador and displacing diesel generation and its environmental emissions.

In August, FEISEH approved feasibility studies of Ocana and three other hydroelectric projects totaling more than 2,000 MW. (HNN 8/29/07)

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.

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