Funding clears construction at Chile’s 158-MW La Confluencia

With newly received financing from a World Bank agency, developers announced beginning of construction October 29 of the 158-MW La Confluencia hydroelectric project on Chile’s Tinguiririca River.

Joint developers Pacific Hydro Ltd. of Australia and Statkraft Norfund Power Invest of Norway (SN Power) said the US$350 million project is scheduled to begin operating in 2010 in central Chile. (HNN 9/28/06) It is being developed downstream from the partners’ 155-MW La Higuera hydro project, which is under construction with completion expected in 2008. (HNN 7/23/07)

Pacific Hydro and SN Power awarded a contruction contract for La Confluencia to German-based Hochtief Construction AG and Tecsa of Chile.

“We expect the construction, which will take three years, to begin soon,” Pacific Hydro said.

The World Bank’s International Finance Corp. (IFC) announced approval October 26 of US$208 million in financing for the project. The package consists of an US$83 million loan from IFC’s own account and a US$125 million loan for the account of participating banks, including DnB NOR Bank, HSH Nordbank, Nordea Bank, Banco Santander, and SEB.

IFC noted La Confluencia is upstream of La Higuera, which IFC previously financed. (HNN 11/23/05) It said the project will be fed by snow melt, allowing it to dispatch at full load during dry season when water levels in the system are below average.

IFC said La Confluencia will help meet Chile’s increasing energy needs with clean, renewable power while helping lower energy prices. It also will help reduce carbon emissions associated with power generation, the agency said.

Pacific Hydro signed a conditional power supply agreement with Chilean utility Chilectra S.A. in 2004.

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