Latin bank funds Costa Rica utility including hydro work

The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has approved a US$500 million conditional credit line to Costa Rica government utility Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) for its 2008-2014 investment program.

IADB said October 24 that the first US$250 million loan from the credit line will finance investments to help ICE continue to provide high-quality, reliable, and affordable services and to ensure its competitiveness.

The bank said the funds would finance:
o Preliminary studies for new hydroelectric and geothermal projects;
o Modernization of equipment at the 120-MW Rio Macho hydroelectric project, built in 1963; and
o Dredging and restoration of reservoirs of six hydroelectric projects to extend their useful lives.

Investments also are to be made to improve transmission and to enable transactions among member countries of the Central American regional power market. The program also will finance rural and urban distribution system improvements.

Loans granted under the conditional credit line will be for 25 years with a five-year grace period and a variable interest rate. Local counterpart funds for the investments will total US$120 million.

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