Study complete for El Salvador’s 260-MW El Cimarron

Armed with a new feasibility study, El Salvador utility Comision Ejecutiva Hidroelectrica del Rio Lempa (CEL) is expected to decide by the end of March whether to seek bids to build the 260-MW El Cimarron hydroelectric project on the upper Lempa River.

CEL said February 27 that it received the feasibility study from consultant Coyne et Bellier of France. The report includes hidrological, geologic, topographic, and other studies supporting development of El Cimarron at the site in Chalatenango Department. (HNN 11/20/06)

With funding from the government of France, CEL commissioned Coyne et Bellier to conduct the feasibility study. It awarded Iberica de Estudios e Ingeneria (Iberinsa) of Spain a contract for an environmental impact study that will be submitted for a permit from regulators.

CEL now is to review the studies to determine if detailed design is needed or if bidding should be launched for an engineering-procurement-construction contract, a CEL official told Business News Americas. The official said a decision is expected by the end of March, which means construction could begin in the second quarter of 2009 at the earliest.

El Cimarron is to include a roller-compacted-concrete dam, a powerhouse with four 65-MW turbine-generators and a turbine to generate additional power from environmental flows. The project is expected to cost US$455 million and is to require four years to build.

When complete, it is to generate 693 gigawatt-hours annually while stabilizing flows of the Lempa River for irrigation and generation at hydro plants downstream.

For information, contact Departamento de Licitaciones, Comision Ejecutiva Hidroelectrica del Rio Lempa, 9a Calle Poniente No. 950, Centro de Gobierno, San Salvador, El Salvador; (503) 22116149; Fax: (503) 22116243; E-mail:; Internet:

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