Development of Argentina's Kirchner and Cepernic hydropower projects set to resume

Argentina Map

Work on Argentina's delayed Nestor Kirchner and Jorge Cepernic hydropower plants is set to resume, following a decision to cut their cost by decreasing their output capacities.

Kirchner and Cepernic, to be located about 80 km apart on the Santa Cruz River in the southern Santa Cruz province, were originally to have had capacities of 1,140 MW and 600 MW, respectively, though reports now indicate their cumulative capacity will be closer to 1,290 MW. However, the projects' annual projected output of 5,000 GWh is to remain the same, according to a statement from the Ministry of Energy.

Financing for the plants is to come in large part from the China Gezhouba Group Co. Ltd., which announced plans to develop them in a joint venture with Grupo Eling SA in August.

Sources report that the projects' modified plans lower their costs from US$6 billion to about $4.7 billion.

The plants have been in development for years, though they have been delayed for a number of reason including incomplete approvals and concerns with their costs. reported last July that MWH Global had received a contract to provide detailing modeling services for the projects. At that time, it was expected that Kirchner would impound water with a 75-meter-high concrete-faced rockfill dam, while Cepernic would include a 43-meter-high dam.

Together, the projects are expected to increase power to the region by about 60%.

For more news from South America, visit here.

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