Argentina opens tendering to build 443-MW Los Blancos

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has approved tendering for development, construction, and operation of the 443-MW Los Blancos hydroelectric complex on the Tunuyan River in Argentina's Mendoza Province.

Officials said the solicitation would begin with a call for expressions of interest in the development concession. That is to be followed by bidding by a short list of pre-qualified companies. Bids are to be opened before the end of the year, a government statement said.

Fernandez, Mendoza Gov. Celso Jaque, and other national and provincial officials participated in a signing ceremony June 26 that will result in a call to companies and consortia to compete for the concession.

The Los Blancos complex is to include 324-MW Los Blancos 1 powerhouse and dam, 119-MW Blancos 2 powerhouse, and Los Tordillos Dam. The underground Los Blancos 1 powerhouse is to utilize a head of 380 meters to generate 900 gigawatt-hours annually, while the Los Blancos 2 surface powerhouse is to have a head of 184 meters generating 380 GWh annually.

In addition to generating electricity for the national grid, the project is to provide water for 18,000 hectares of irrigation and an attraction for tourism.

The project is expected to be complete in 2012 at a cost of US$700 million. It will be located 42 kilometers west of La Consulta in an area of low precipitation.

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