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Two consortia bid to build Argentina's 1,700-MW Santa Cruz complex

Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Santa Cruz Province Gov. Daniel Peralta opened bids April 14 from two competing consortia to build two hydroelectric projects, La Barrancosa and Condor Cliff, totaling 1,700 MW, on the Santa Cruz River of southern Argentina.

The Santa Cruz government said bids were submitted by two of the six consortia that requested bid packages. Bidding were a consortium of Electroingenieria, IECSA, and Jose Cartellone, and another consortium of IMPSA, Camargo Correa, and Corporacion America.

A winning bidder was expected to be named within 60 days with construction to begin by December.

Fernandez de Kirchner's husband and predecessor, former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, announced government plans to develop the projects in sparsely populated Santa Cruz Province during a 2007 appearance at Puerto Santa Cruz, population 3,500. (HNN 11/26/07)

The projects are expected to require an investment of US$2 billion and to generate 5,000 jobs over four years of construction. Work is to include design, civil construction, equipment supply, transmission line construction, operation and maintenance, and financing of La Barrancosa and Condor Cliff.

Fernandez de Kirchner said the hydro complex will represent 16 percent of Argentina's hydropower supply. She lamented that the Santa Cruz River, with flows of 700 cms, has never before been harnessed.

The president said the hydro projects and their transmission lines would finally integrate the poor southern portion of Argentina with the rest of the country. She called the Santa Cruz complex the third most important hydroelectric project after 3,200-MW Yacyreta on the Parana River and 1,890-MW Salto Grande on the Uruguai River. (HNN 4/10/08)

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