The historical downspout of the Paraná River has led Yacyretá, Argentina's biggest hydroelectric plant, to work at around 50% of its normal capacity, which has a direct impact on supply to the electrical system.
The hydroelectric dam is currently operating with 12 of its 20 generating turbines, it was reported Thursday.
The situation is affecting the generation and the amount of energy that we can deliver to the systems of Argentina and Paraguay, and therefore also to the billing system, explained Yacyretá Binational Entity (EBY) Executive Director Ignacio Barrios Arrechea.
At present, the flow of the Paraná hardly exceeds 6,000 cubic meters per second (m3/s), with daily minimum records of up to 5,500 m3/s, and the situation is not expected to reverse any time soon.
The largest hydroelectric plant in Argentina is currently generating below 1,100 Mw, barely a third of its installed technical capacity of 3,200 Mw, and with a 50% reduction in energy delivery compared to average metrics for that time of the year.
The dam generated 789,416 Mw last June, which meant 309,260 megawatts below the figures for the same period of 2020 when there were also signs of a downspout.
This situation is putting pressure on another type of generator, many of which operate with gas at times of high demand and must switch to much more expensive fuels.
The lower sale of generated energy, which allocates 90% to Argentina and 10% to Paraguay is also reflected in the billing, which has fallen from around US $ 60 million under normal conditions to barely US $ 30 million in June 2021.
Despite the economic impact, Barrios Arrechea explained that this lower billing does not affect the budgets or current expenses of the company because the States comply every year with budgetary needs.
By 2021 this requirement is fully covered and it will also be covered by 2022, including the expenses for the construction of Aña Cua, which will have its investment peak in 2022, he added.
The operation of the dam has been cut down from 20 Kaplan type turbines to just 12. In the meantime, maintenance works are performed on the 8 other generators.
Yacyretá is also developing the Aña Cua dam, which will have three Kaplan-type turbines destined to produce between 9 and 20% extra energy, depending on the fluctuation of the water level of the Paraná River.
The budget required by the Yacyretá Entity for 2021 was US $ 53 million, but by 2022 it will amount to about US $ 170 million, that is, almost half of the $ 350 million budget to be invested during the 50 months of works to be achieved by 2024.
Aña Cua will offer continuous electricity generation since it must comply with the environmental commitment adopted by Argentina and Paraguay when managing Yacyretá financing.