IDB loan to restore & upgrade Venezuela’s Guri hydro plant

By Chris Sleight01 November 2010

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has announced a US$ 700 million loan to Venezuela to upgrade the turbines in the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant. The facility, also known as Guri is the world's third largest hydroelectric plant and supplies 45% of Venezuela's electricity demand.

The IDB loan will be used to replace six turbines that were installed in the 1960s and 1970s, which the bank says are at risk of failure, and which were not designed to handle the water pressures supplied today by the reservoir. It added that these factors mean the turbines are generating -7% less power now than will be possible once they are overhauled. The overhaul work will include the replacement of rotors, regulators and related turbine components as well as an upgrade of the high voltage systems.

The rehabilitation of the turbines is part of the Venezuelan Government's Guri Modernisation Programme, which is due for completion in 2016, and which is expected to add 795 MW to Guri's generation capacity - equivalent to 3% of Venezuelan demand. The total cost of the project is put at US$ 1.3 billion, some US$ 609 of which will come from Venezuela.

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