South Korea utility to study Bolivia’s 120-MW Misicuni

Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) signed a memorandum of understanding with Bolivia officials January 21 to study building a 120-MW hydroelectric plant as part of Bolivia’s Misicuni multipurpose water project.

The government’s Agencia Boliviana de Informacion said officials of KEPCO, the government, and government utility Empresa Nacional de Electricidad met in the project area of Cochabamba to sign the agreement to start pre-feasibility studies at the site.

KEPCO officials also visited President Evo Morales at the capital to express their interest in investing in Bolivia.

KEPCO Chief Executive Officer Won Gul Lee declined to say how much the company could invest in the Misicuni project, but said he hoped construction could begin this year.

Project developer Empresa Misicuni requested bids in September 2007 from Italian and Bolivian firms to build the 120-meter-tall Misicuni Dam in Cochabamba Valley. (HNN 8/13/07) However, the tender process was voided when no bids were received, a Misicuni official told Business News Americas.

The official said a decision was expected soon from the Italian government whether to issue a new call for bids. He said Italy was asked whether bidding rules could be modified to allow non-Italian firms to participate in partnership with Italian firms.

The Italian government is providing US$31 million for the dam portion of the project, while US$7.5 million is coming from multinational lender Corporacion Andina de Fomento, US$6.5 million from the Bolivian Treasury, and US$31 million from Cochambamba Prefecture.

Misicuni includes a 120-meter-tall, 512-meter-long dam; a 150 million-cubic-meter reservoir; 444-meter diversion tunnel; and a water treatment plant. When complete, the project is to provide water to the Cochabamba metropolitan area and is to irrigate more than 15,000 acres, in addition to the potential to generate hydropower.

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