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Italy firm to build Chile's 106-MW Chacayes

Australian developer Pacific Hydro has awarded a US$282 million contract to Italy's Astaldi Group to build the 106-MW Chacayes hydroelectric project in Chile's Cachapoal River Basin.

Astaldi said the agreement also calls for Astaldi to build two additional hydro projects totaling 284 MW for Pacific Hydro. (HNN 6/5/07)

Pacific Hydro Chile S.A. called for final design, civil works, and supply and installation of water-to-wire equipment for Chacayes. The project is to include intake structures, desanding bays, canal, head pond, six kilometers of tunnels, and two turbine-generators totaling 106 MW. Work is expected to be complete in 2011.

Astaldi said the agreement also calls for the Italian firm to build the 184-MW Nido de Aguilas project on the Cortaderal River and the 98-MW Las Lenas project on the Alto Cachapoal and Las Lenas rivers, for a total value of US$600 million.

Astaldi it entered an exclusivity agreement with Pacific Hydro for the two additional plants, leading to the signing of additional contracts in 2009. Pacific Hydro previously said developing Chacayes, Nido de Aguila, and Las Lenas simultaneously would deliver economies of scale and commonality of equipment benefits.

Pacific Hydro bought the 39.3-MW Coya hydropower plant in 2004 from government-owned copper miner Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco). At the same time, it secured exclusive water rights in the Alto Cachapoal Basin sufficient to develop another 400 MW. In 2006 it awarded a contract to Poyry Energy for engineering services to upgrade and expand Coya to 103 MW.

Chacayes (also spelled Chicayes) is to be built upstream of Coya on the Pangal River. An optimization study of the Cachapoal also recommended development of Nido de Aguila, Las Lenas, and 78-MW Maravillas on the Cortaderal.

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