Venezuela utility investment to include hydro, thermal generation

Venezuela's new national utility, Corporacion Electrica Nacional (Corpoelec), is to make major investments in power generation, including both thermal and hydropower, the government said November 25.

State-run Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias said the Ejecutivo Nacional is working through Corpoelec to propose 42 projects structured to increase installed capacity by nearly 40 percent by 2012.

At the formation of Corpoelec in May, President Hugo Chavez had said the government planned to invest US$10.3 billion to develop 42 hydroelectric projects between 2008 and 2014. (HNN 5/27/08) The latest statement indicated 42 projects would be a combination of thermal and hydro generation.

The latest statement specified two hydro projects already in progress, including the 25-MW Masparro hydropower plant being built at the existing Masparro Dam on the Masparro River in Barinas State. The project began in 2006 and is to be operational by March 2009.

Also highlighted was the 514-MW Fabricio Ojeda project, being built at La Vueltosa Dam on the Camburito River in Merida State. It is the third development of the Uribante-Caparo hydroelectric complex. (HNN 9/14/06) Construction of Fabricio Ojeda began in 2004 at Camburito Caparo Dam.

In a recent tour of Fabricio Ojeda, Corpoelec President Hipolito Izquierdo said the total investment in the project is US$161 million and with complementary works totals US$220 million.

Chavez said in May that reactivation of the hydroelectric sector forms part of his First Socialist Plan of the Nation.

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