Ecuador officials sign concession to build 228-MW Toachi-Pilaton

Ecuador regulator Consejo Nacional de Electricidad (Conelec) signed a concession agreement October 8 awarding construction of the 228-MW Toachi-Pilaton hydroelectric project to Hidrotoapi S.A., a company owned by Pichincha Province.

Toachi-Pilaton, previously estimated at 190 MW, is to involve construction of two hydropower plants, 50-MW Sarapullo on the Pilaton River and 178-MW Alluriquin on the Pilaton and Toachi rivers. (HNN 9/13/07) Hidrotoapi won the development concession in 2005 and holds a US$170 million line of credit from Brazilian development bank Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES).

Pichincha Prefect Gustavo Baroja thanked Conelec and Electricity Minister Alecksey Mosquera for lining up government support for the long-awaited project. He added that the agencies and President Rafael Correa were responsible for forming a technical commission that allowed the project to be upgraded from its original capacity of 190 MW.

Baroja added that funding from Ecuador’s energy and hydrocarbon investment fund, Fondo Ecuatoriano de Inversion en los Sectores Energetico e Hidrocarburifero (FEISEH), would save Pichincha more than US$100 million in developing the US$458 million project. 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.

Hidrotoapi named Brazil’s Construtora Norberto Odebrecht its strategic partner in building Toachi-Pilaton. Construction is expected to begin in early 2008, with completion in mid-2011, in Pichincha 80 kilometers southwest of Quito. The project is expected to generate 1,120 GWh annually.

Mosquera noted Toachi-Pilaton is the third major project to be developed in the basin after 213-MW Marcel Laniado de Wind and Baba Dam, a water diversion project being built to boost generation at Laniado and possibly include its own 50 MW of installed capacity. (HNN 7/24/07) The minister added that Pichincha is interested in building the 176-MW Chespi project on the Guayllabamba River in the same basin. (HNN 6/6/07)

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