UPDATE – U.S. awards grants for Costa Rica’s 630-MW El Diquis

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA) has awarded two grants totaling US$500,000 to Costa Rica to support development of the 630-MW El Diquis hydroelectric project on Costa Rica’s General Superior River.

TDA said September 5 it awarded a US$300,000 grant for geotechnical investigations at specific portions of the project site in order to refine the existing geological and geotechnical model along the tunnel axis and the powerhouse area. The second grant, of US$200,000, is to fund development of a recommended financial structure for the project. Tenders for those studies, to be performed by U.S. firms, are to be issued on the U.S. government’s Federal Business Opportunities Internet site, www.fbo.gov.

Costa Rica utility Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) already won a US$1.5 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank and said it plans to recruit consultants to conduct other technical, social, environmental, financial, and inter-institutional studies. (HNN 8/31/07) The new studies are to complement earlier feasibility studies of the project.

Formerly called the Boruca-Veraguas project, El Diquis has been studied by ICE for many years. Boruca-Veraguas was chosen as an alternative to a 709-MW Boruca-Cajon proposal because it is expected to have fewer social and environmental effects. ICE said the project is located in one of the less-developed parts of the nation and is to improve socio-economic conditions while complementing regional electricity system integration.

ICE said it plans to issue tender solicitations for consultants: to form an advisory panel of experts; for preliminary environmental study of transmission lines; an environmental impact study; and a determination of regional-local institutional potential for cooperation in the project area.

Firms wishing to be on a mailing list for solicitations are invited to contact the address below. For information, contact Inter-American Development Bank, Representation in Costa Rica, Attn: Juan Valle, Entre Calles 38 y 40, Paseo Colon, San Jose, Costa Rica; (506) 2333244; Fax: (506) 2570083; E-mail: juanva@iadb.org.

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