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Montevideo, December 1st 2021 - 07:26 UTC



One power plant starts operating in Argentina, foundations laid for another

Friday, April 2nd 2021 - 09:58 UTC
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For Barrios Arrechea the biggest challenge is to modernize Yacyertá's old turbines. For Barrios Arrechea the biggest challenge is to modernize Yacyertá's old turbines.

The 21 MW thermoelectric power plant of Río Turbio Carboniferous Field Wednesday at 8 am began to generate electricity and deliver it to the National Interconnected System, it was announced.

“The 21 MW Thermal Power Plant works with coal extracted from the deposit and since yesterday morning it has delivered 4.5 MW to the National Interconnected System, at a time when our country requires all the energy produced within our borders that can be obtained, to contribute to economic recovery and the start-up of the country's productive system,” the Río Turbio Carboniferous Deposit's website said Thursday.

Authorities praised the plant's workers for making the achievement possible amid all the covid-related restrictions and additional sanitary precautions. Since January 2020 the Río Turbio Carboniferous Deposit (YCRT) is controlled by former Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández.

Meanwhile, a US $ 350 million investment got under way for the Aña Cua dam plant, which should be operational in four years. Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero presided over the ceremony where the foundations of the new dam were laid in the province of Corrientes. Aña Cua, is planned to become a second hydroelectric dam just 15 kilometers from Yacyretá.

“We work to do it in a timely manner, we are barely a month late due to the pandemic and we are going to recover that time, in four years it will be ready and at the stipulated cost, which is around 350 million dollars,” Ignacio Barrios Arrechea, head on behaf of Argentina of the Binational Yacyretá Entity (Paraguay owning the other half), was quoted as saying by the La Nación daily.

It is hoped Aña Cua will add 10% of power to the Yacyretá complex, which today produces 15% of Argentina's consumtion and 11% of Paraguay's.

Aña Cua will have a capacity of 270 MW and an annual generation of 2000 GWh. Its construction will generate 600 direct jobs and 2,400 indirect ones.

The new project consists of 3 Kaplan-type turbines on the arm of the Paraná river named Aña Cua where today 16 huge steel gates regulate the river's flow through this landfill, for environmental reasons. In the main YAcyretá dam there are 20 Kaplan turbines.

“Because of that water that passes through, we lose 60 million dollars in energy that we do not produce every year,” explained Nicanor Duarte Frutos, former president of Paraguay and head of EBY on the Paraguayan side, in the act that took place where the turbines and the engine room are to be placed.

Work began in June 2020 and after months of excavations (2.4 million cubic meters) and blasting, it was finally time to start the applying of 250,000 m3 of concrete.

Argentine President Alberto Fernández had announced he would attend the ceremony but changed his plans and sent Cafiero instead, together with Interior Minister Wado de Pedro and Energy Secretary Darío Martinez.

Yacyretá had been dubbed a “monument to corruption” by former President Carlos Menem as Argentina was the only partner to finance its development, while Paraguay would pay its share by ceding energy. But Barrios Arrechea insisted financial support from both governments was needed at this point and both states were very much in debt to Yacyretá.

In charge of the construction will be a consortium formed by the Italian Astaldi, Argentina's Rovella Carranza and the Paraguayan firm Tecnoedil for 200 million US dollars worth of works, while another 100 million will go to Germany's Voith for manufacturing the three huge Kaplan turbines. The rest are complementary works such as high voltage lines, transformers and detailed engineering.

For Barrios Arrechea, the biggest challenge is not Aña Cua, but rather modernizing the main Yacyretá plant, which has “almost obsolete” turbines.

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