Ecuador orders studies of 23 hydro projects

Ecuador’s secretary of state has signed agreements with four colleges to carry out studies of 23 hydroelectric projects totaling 168 MW.

The office of President Alfredo Palacio said October 23 that agreements were signed with three polytechnic schools, Nacional, Litoral, and Ejercito, and with the Universidad de Cuenca, for pre-feasibility studies of the 23 projects. The office said the projects are to provide Ecuador renewable, cheap, and clean energy.

Additionally, President Alejandro Ribadeneira of Consejo Nacional de Electricidad (CONELEC) said the state-owned utility would work with government authorities to ensure effective control of hydroelectric projects granted concessions from CONELEC.

Ribadeneira told a news conference that Palacio decreed development of hydropower and other generating technologies to be a national priority to meet serious electricity shortages. He said that is why CONELEC has granted permissions and concessions for hydro projects to develop the enormous potential of Ecuador’s rivers.

The utility official said hydropower makes effective use of national resources while offsetting thermal generation to benefit the environment. At the same time, he said the government requires developers to fulfill environmental protection regulations.

First unit of 230-MW San Francisco to test in December

The president’s office also announced that the first 115-MW unit of the 230-MW San Francisco hydro project is to undergo operational testing in December. The second unit is to start up in March.

Energy and Mines Minister Ivan Rodriguez said San Francisco will allow a reduction of 100 million gallons of diesel fuel for power generation, a savings of US$300 million per year.

The presidents of Brazil and Ecuador signed an agreement in 2001 in which Brazil agreed to finance construction of the project in the central Andean highlands by Brazilian construction company Norberto Odebrecht.

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