Venezuela will increase power output from its largest hydroelectric complex by 795 megawatts—enough to supply almost one million Venezuelans—through a modernization program financed with a $700 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank.
The project will replace six of the 20 turbogenerator units at the Guri plant which is currently the world’s third largest hydroelectric complex. Guri supplies nearly 45 percent of Venezuela’s total electricity demand.
The six turbogenerators units were installed decades ago in the 1960s and 1970s. The project, part of Venezuelan Government´s broader Guri Modernization Program, will conclude in 2016. The project will enable Guri to offer additional power, equivalent to more than 3 percent of Venezuela’s total electricity generation capacity. It will also extend the plant’s service life by around 25 years.
“This is the largest energy efficiency project the IDB has ever financed,” said Alejandro Melandri, the IDB team leader for the Guri loan. “It may also be one of the cleanest and most cost-effective ways of generating additional power. By upgrading equipment in an existing facility, we avoid many of the initial construction costs and nearly all the environmental impacts associated with new power plants. It’s a bit like changing an old incandescent light-bulb for a new compact fluorescent one—but on a massive scale.”