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Ecuador 2012 | ENERGY & MINING | B2B: HYDRO PRODUCERS

Ecuador's local producers work with international firms and private sector actors to take advantage of the country's powerful water resources.

Cai Runguo
CAI RUNGUO
Senior Adviser
Sinohydro Ecuador
Juan Leonardo Espinoza
JUAN LEONARDO ESPINOZA
Hidropaute Business Unit Manager
CELEC EP

What competitive advantages of Sinohydro helped the company win the tender for the Coca Codo Sinclair Dam project?

CAI RUNGUO The Coca Codo Sinclair Dam is a very important project for Ecuador, because the country requires more energy to meet the demand of its population. Each year, the government is forced to import electricity from neighboring countries. However, Ecuador has very rich hydro resources, and the government has developed a plan to build hydro power stations and a program to exchange thermal energy for clean energy. For Sinohydro, this was a good opportunity; the company has its own technology and the support of the Export-Import Bank of China. These factors are very important; there are bountiful natural resources in Ecuador, but the country lacks financial capital. Ecuador needs the support of other countries. The Export-Import Bank of China had the initiative to invest in this project, and through this partnership, we have reached an agreement with the authorities, and were able to win the tender.

How has Hidropaute's capacity evolved over the years?

JUAN LEONARDO ESPINOZA We are continuing to grow. In 2005, we started the Mazar project, a large dam with a 170-MW capacity. The project was finished in 2010, and brought our total capacity to 1,270 MW. We are also working on another project, called Paute Sopladora, with a capacity of 487 MW. It is currently under construction, and we have three more years to complete it. It is being built by a consortium, including a Chinese company, Gezhouba, and an Ecuadorean company, Fopeca. We expect that energy will begin to flow into the national grid by 2015. We have one more project, named Cardenillo. The final design studies will be complete by March 2013. This project has a capacity of around 500 MW, similar to Sopladora. With that, we will complete the “Paute-Integral" complex that includes four hydroelectric projects and more than 2,200 MW in total capacity.

What is the status of the projects currently underway?

CR Work will be ongoing for 66 months, or five and a half years. We have already been building for nearly a year and a half, and we have four years to go. During the past year and a half, we have built roads, campsites, and a number of tunnels. When the tunnel-boring machine (TBM) arrives at its destination, the construction will reach the summit phase. We will be hiring more workers, and we hope that everything will continue as planned. Overall, we are determined to finish the project on time.

What are your expectations in terms of increasing generation capacity?

JLE Cardenillo will be quite similar to Sopladora in terms of capacity—about 500 MW. However, Cardenillo will be part of the new age for the electricity sector in Ecuador. By that, I mean that all the projects we are building right now, until 2015 or 2016, are going to end the age of deficit in the sector. When these projects are built, we will begin exporting energy, which is the government's vision. So, from 2016, we will probably start building the second generation of projects, to export energy to our neighbors. Cardenillo is probably going to be built not only thinking of the demand inside Ecuador, but also how much of this energy we can export to Peru, Columbia, Brazil, or Chile. It is part of the new vision led by President Correa.