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Venezuela to invest US$10 billion in 42 hydro projects

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the government plans to invest US$10.3 billion to develop 42 hydroelectric projects between 2008 and 2014.

"We will generate 8,635 MW additional," Chavez said May 24 at the board inaugural of the new nationalized utility, Corporacion Electrica Nacional (Corpoelec). "Today we have 22,540 MW of installed capacity, which means an increase of 38.3 percent."

Chavez said the plan would reactivate Venezuela's hydroelectric sector, described as paralyzed for 20 years. He said the additional hydro generation would meet the nation's needs for 15 years. He said additional investments would be made in wind, solar, and gasification projects.

The president said completion of the 2,320-MW Manuel Piar (Tocoma) project, expected in 2014, would bring to four the number of hydro stations powered by the Caroni River. (HNN 1/18/08) Others are 10,300-MW Simon Bolivar (Raul Leoni or Guri) (HNN 3/2/07) , 2,160-MW Francisco de Miranda (Caruachi), and 2,910-MW Antonio Jose de Sucre (Veinte y Tres de Enero or Macagua 1-3). (HNN 1/26/07)

Chavez also noted completion of the 514-MW Fabricio Ojeda project, formerly La Vueltosa on the Camburito River in Merida State, would help diversify the source of Venezuela's electricity from Simon Bolivar, which currently supplies 72 percent of the nation's power.

Chavez said reactivation of the hydroelectric sector forms part of his First Socialist Plan of the Nation, adding the program could be accelerated if he could win approval of constitutional reforms. (HNN 1/12/07) A major oil exporter bolstered by $120-per-barrel prices, Venezuela is recovering its financial standing and diverting funds to diverse development projects.

Corpoelec has been directed to study its sister utilities in Venezuela from the points of view of financial, human resources, and other areas. Corpoelec is to plan actions that will improve procedures to provide better electricity service.

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