Pacific Hydro outlines five plants on Chile’s Cachapoal

Australia developer Pacific Hydro has outlined development plans for five run-of-river hydroelectric projects in Chile’s Cachapoal River Valley.

Latin American operations manager Janine Hoey told Business News Americas that Pacific Hydro plans to invest US$1 billion to develop the projects, beginning with an upgrade of the 39.3-MW Coya hydropower plant to 76 MW.

The developer bought Coya in 2004 from government-owned copper miner Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco). At the same time, Pacific Hydro agreed to pay Codelco US$1 million for exclusive water rights in the Alto Cachapoal Basin sufficient to develop 400 MW. Hoey said the company must pay another $9 million to fully secure the water rights.

In conjunction with the Coya expansion, Pacific Hydro is to develop the 115-MW Chicayes project, the first of four projects upstream from Coya. The projects are linked because Chicayes (also spelled Chacayas) and Coya need to function together. The firm plans to begin construction in 2007, with operation scheduled for 2010.

Pacific Hydro also expects to develop the next two projects upstream, 170-MW Las Lenas and 180-MW Nido de Aguilas, simultaneously, with operations to begin in 2012. Next, it would build the 80-MW Las Maravillas project, to go on line by 2014.

Pacific Hydro has plans for several other smaller hydro plants in Chile and is in the process of developing the 155-MW La Higuera (HNN 4/10/06) and 145-MW La Confluencia hydro projects on the Tinguiririca River with Statkraft Norfund Power Invest of Norway. (HNN 5/17/06)

For information, contact Pacific Hydro Ltd., Rob Grant, Chief Executive Officer, Level 10, 474 Flinders St., Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia; (61) 3-96204400; Fax: (61) 3-96204433; E-mail: rgrant@pacifichydro.com.au; Internet: www.pacifichydro.com.au.

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