Ecuador’s 487-MW Sopladora hydropower plant complete

Ecuador’s 487-MW Sopladora hydropower plant has been completed, according to state-owned operator CELEC.

The US$755 million facility is located on the Paute River in Azuay and Morono Santiago provinces. The project is the third-largest hydro installation in Ecuador, but does not include a dam, instead relying on water discharged by the nearby 1,075-MW Paute.

CELEC said Sopladora will fulfill about 13% of Ecuador’s total need for energy while allowing the country to cut the cost of importing fossil fuels by more than $280 million per year.

The project was funded in large part by the China Export-Import Bank, which signed a credit agreement with the Ecuadorian government providing $571 million in October 2011.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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