Ecuador advances studies of 3,600-MW Santiago hydro project

Ecuador Map

Ecuador's electricity regulator has issued a qualification certificate allowing government utility Corporacion Electrica del Ecuador (Celec) to advance studies of the 3,600-MW Santiago hydroelectric project proposed for Ecuador's Zamora River.

The Santiago project is the first phase of the 5,500-MW Zamora-Santiago hydroelectric complex proposed for the lower Zamora River in southeastern Ecuador. The US$3 billion Santiago project and a US$3.5 billion 2,240-MW Zamora hydro project are reportedly part of Ecuador's strategic energy projects portfolio.

Consejo Nacional de Electricidad (Conelec) issued Celec a qualification certificate September 23, which is needed to continue further studies and obtain financing. Conelec said the Santiago project could supply 15,647 GWh to the national grid, equal to 70 percent of Ecuador's electricity demand.

Hyundai Engineering Co. Ltd. was identified in 2009 as the highest ranking bidder of seven groups that submitted proposals to perform technical and economic pre-feasibility and feasibility studies and detailed design of a 4,000-MW Zamora hydroelectric complex on the Zamora and Namangoza rivers. At that time, it was said the Zamora complex (Lower Course) could include 20 hydroelectric projects, 90 percent of which would be in Morona Santiago Province.

Conelec approves grid connection for 49.7-MW Due hydropower project

Conelec Executive Director Maria Cristina Vallejo also signed a concession amendment establishing the grid connection point for the 49.7-MW Due hydroelectric project, being built on northern Ecuador's Due River in Sucumbios Province.

Hidroalto Generacion de Energia S.A. holds the concession to develop the run-of-river Due project, which is to be completed in 24 months. The Inter-American Investment Corp. is considering a loan of up to US$20 million for the project.

The concession amendment provides for the project's grid interconnection point at the San Rafael substation of utility Transelectric.

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