The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved two financing packages worth a total of US$ 130 million in support of a program to modernize the Argentine-Uruguayan bi-national hydroelectric power plant in Salto Grande and a program to boost the competitiveness of the productive and tourism sectors of that region, made up of the departments of Concordia and Federacion in the Argentine province of Entre Ríos and Salto department in Uruguay.
The plan to modernize the hydroelectric plant's infrastructure and equipment will help ensure the facility's availability by contributing reliability and efficiency to the inter-connection between the two countries. The specific goal of the program is to prolong the plant's working life.
In order to achieve this it will finance work such as the modernization of the speed regulators of the turbines; replacement of the hydro-mechanical systems of the spillway and strengthening of the spillway gates; replacement of the facility's lifting systems; upgrading of the auxiliary electrical systems and the control systems; replacement of the main transformers and the communications and control systems, among others.
The program will keep the plant operating at adequate levels of availability and reliability, benefiting 17.2 million users of the Argentine and Uruguayan electricity grids with renewable energy and quality, cost-efficient service.
Meanwhile, the Salto Grande Regional Development and Integration Program aims to boost the productivity of the productive sectors and enhance the region's positioning as a tourism destination and as well as its connectivity so as to attract more local and foreign tourists.
Argentina requested financing for this program and Uruguay will participate with assets of its own that are related to productive and tourism development.
The beneficiaries in Argentina will be nearly 2,000 citrus producers, berry and fruit growers, 291 forestry-industrial companies, 908 hotels and restaurants and more than 2,200 commercial outlets. In Uruguay, they will be 561 growers of citrus, fruit and berries and 65 hotels and restaurants. Overall, the plan will benefit 454,000 people in the Salto Grande region.
The IDB credit of US$ 80 million for the project to overhaul the hydroelectric plant is divided into two loans of US$ 40 million for each country over 25 years with a five and a half year grace period and an interest rate pegged to the LIBOR.
The US$ 50 million loan for development and integration of Salto Grande carries those same terms.