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Monday, October 12, 2009

Ecuador’s President Says Big Hydro Project on Track

Latin American Herald Tribune
QUITO – President Rafael Correa said progress was being made in the preliminary construction phase of the Coca-Codo-Sinclaire hydroelectric power plant, the largest facility of its type in Ecuador, following the signing of a contract last week with China’s Sinohydro.

The construction of access roads is in the advanced stage because work started before the contract with the Chinese company was signed last Monday, the president said during his weekly program on Saturday.

The power plant will have the capacity to generate 1,500 MW of electricity, allowing it to meet about 70 percent of domestic power demand in the Andean nation.

Ecuador will no longer need to import electricity from Colombia and Peru once Coca-Codo-Sinclaire is completed, and it will gain the capacity to export power to other countries in the region, Correa said.

The hydroelectric power project is “the biggest investment in the history of the country and is being made despite the economic crisis at the global level,” Correa said, adding that construction would cost some $2 billion.

“Much care is being taken in the environmental area” because the plant is being constructed in the east-central Amazon region, the president said.

Ecuador is providing about 15 percent of the funding for the power plant, with China’s Eximbank financing the other approximately 85 percent of the project.

The Coca-Codo-Sinclaire hydroelectric power plant is located in El Chaco, in the Amazonian province of Napo.

The plant is expected to create some 4,000 direct jobs and 15,000 indirect jobs.

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