Ecuador starts first unit of 230-MW San Francisco

In one of his final acts before leaving office, President Alfredo Palacio inaugurated the first 115-MW unit of the 230-MW San Francisco hydro project on the Pastaza River in Ecuador’s central Andean highlands.

An announcement by the president’s office, as carried by Business News Americas, said Palacio inaugurated the unit before being replaced by newly elected President Rafael Correa January 15. (HNN 10/27/06) The second unit is to start up in March.

Brazilian construction company Norberto Odebrecht built the US$302 million project, while Brazilian units of Alstom and VA Tech Hydro supplied turbine-generators. Brazil’s national development bank, BNDES, helped finance most of the project.

San Francisco uses flow releases from the 156-MW Agoyan hydro plant through a series of tunnels and caverns. Agoyan’s operator, HidroAgoyan, also is to operate San Francisco.

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

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