UPDATE - Astaldi contract for El Salvador project set at US$220 million

Italy's Astaldi Group announced October 2 that its contract to build El Salvador's 65.7-MW El Chaparral hydroelectric project is valued at US$220 million.

El Salvador President Elias Antonio Saca and President Nicolas Salume of utility Comision Ejecutiva Hidroelectrica del Rio Lempa (CEL) participated in a ground breaking ceremony for construction of the project on El Salvador's Torola river. (HNN 10/2/08) CEL said September 30 the project was financed by a credit from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and independent funds.

Astaldi S.p.A. was named winning bidder for turnkey construction of El Chaparral, including a roller-compacted-concrete dam (RCC), reservoir, and powerhouse containing two Francis turbine-generators. (HNN 3/13/08) Full construction is to begin in the first half of 2009 and be completed in 50 months.

Astaldi said the turnkey contract provides for design and construction of the project. The RCC dam is to be 87 meters tall and 231 meters long with a volume of 375,000 cubic meters.

"The construction of important hydroelectric power plants and dams historically contributed to Astaldi's renown in Italy and abroad thanks to meaningful experience accrued in the sector of power production," Giuseppe Cafiero, Astaldi's chief executive for group industrial policy, said. "By this new project we intend to confirm our commitment to achieve a leading position at international level also in this sector, particularly in the Americas."

CEL Project Coordinator Jaime Contreras said CEL is pursuing other hydro projects, including continued activity related to the 260-MW El Cimarron hydroelectric project on the upper Lempa River. CEL is expected to seek bids to build the US$455 million project. (HNN 3/3/08)

Contreras said CEL also is fulfilling studies of 704-MW El Tigre Dam, proposed for construction on the border with Honduras (HNN 5/22/06), and a 138-MW hydropower complex to be developed on the Paz River with Guatemala. (HNN 2/15/07)

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