Norplan designs, procures for Chile’s 531-MW Alto Maipo

Power company AES Gener has named Norplan of Norway to provide design and procurement services for the 531-MW Alto Maipo hydroelectric project in Chile’s Maipo River Basin.

Norplan was named international specialist within the sectors of tunnel works, mechanical equipment in powerhouse caverns, and electrical equipment.

AES Gener, a subsidiary of AES Corp. of the United States, is developing Alto Maipo with water utility Aguas Andinas. Last year, AES Gener submitted an environmental impact study for the project to national environmental commission Conama. (HNN 6/20/07)

To be built in Chile’s Metropolitan Region, Alto Maipo is to include two run-of-river underground powerhouses, 275-MW Alfalfal 2 in the Colorado River subbasin downstream from Alfalfal 1, and 256-MW Las Lajas near the confluence of the Maipo River and El Manzano marsh.

Norplan said it is to handle technical advisory and controlling functions for the underground portions of the project. Work includes a final design study, including mapping and ground investigations, tunnel design, design base for mechanical and electrical equipment, and coordination.

The consultant also is to provide procurement services until award of contract, including pre-qualification and tender documents for three tunnel contracts and one electro-mechanical contract.

Norplan said Alto Maipo includes 65 kilometers of headrace, tailrace, and access tunnels; 2.5 kilometers of pressure, surge, and cable shafts; and the underground powerhouses. Pelton turbines were selected because of high heads of 1,160 and 483 meters and heavy silt exposure in the region.

AES Gener officials previously said they hope the US$600 million project can begin operation between 2012 and 2013.

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