First unit being installed at Colombia’s 660-MW Porce 3

Colombia utility Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) has begun installation of the first turbine-generator of the 660-MW Porce 3 hydroelectric project on Colombia’s Porce River.

EPM reported construction is proceeding on schedule with 50 percent of the dam completed and 65 percent of the spillway channel excavated. The project’s underground powerhouse and transformer cavern have been excavated in entirety, the utility said.

EPM said in October 2008 it received a US$200 million loan from Japanese banks to advance construction of the Porce 3. (HNN 10/1/08) EPM said Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and BBVA Japan extended the 15-year loan with a guarantee from the Japan Bank of International Cooperation.

EPM President Federico Restrepo Posada said the project is on track for first unit operation in September 2010. Porce 3 is expected to be complete in 2011 in Antioquia Province.

EPM awarded contracts in 2007 totaling US$16 million to Argentina’s Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona S.A. (IMPSA) and Italy’s ATB-Riva Calzoni of Italy to supply gates for the diversion tunnel and outlets. IMPSA previously received a US$36.9 million contract to supply four Francis turbines, while Japan’s Mitsui &Co. Ltd. received a US44.8 million contract to supply synchronous generators.

The government named Interconexion Electrica S.A. to develop a substation and transmission line to interconnect Porce 3 with Colombia’s national grid.

EPM said it has consulted with 582 families affected by the project and has reached agreements with 98 percent that demand an investment of 80 billion pesos (US$31.8 million). It said so far 170 of those families have been relocated in the catchment area or nearby locations. It said it also agreed to improve schools, health facilities, roads, housing, and community facilities in Amalfi, Guadaloupe, and Anori.

The utility said Porce 3 has created 4,184 jobs and boosted the local economy with acquisition of goods and services totaling 31 billion pesos (US$12.3 million). It said it also conducted studies to protect plants and wildlife and reforested 100 hectares.

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