Hydro levels down by roughly 20%

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chile's hydro levels were down by roughly 20% in May from the year-ago month, with all hydro dams save region VIII's Pangue on the Bío-Bío river showing declines from 2008 levels, the national water authority (DGA) reported.

Notably the Bío-Bío's 5.58Bm3-capacity Lago Laja generation and irrigation dam, which has a historical average of 3.26Bm3, stood at 1.73Bm3 in May 2009 compared to 1.93Bm3 in the year-ago month. Generation dams Ralco and Pangue also on the Bío-Bío stood at 717Mm3 and 75Mm3 in May compared to 821Mm3 and 73Mm3 in the year-ago month, respectively. Ralco has capacity for 1.17Bm3 and Pangue 83Mm3.

Meanwhile the 695Mm3-capacity Rapel hydroelectric dam in region VI stood at 456Mm3 in May 2009 compared to 601Mm3 one year before. The dam has a historical average of 479Mm3. The 1.54Bm3-capacity Colbún power and irrigation dam in region VII stood at 557Mm3 in May 2009, far below the year-ago level of 1.10Bm3 and the historical average of 927Mm3.

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The 1.42Bm3-capacity Lago Maule generation and irrigation dam in region VII fell to 677Mm3 from 789Mm3 in May 2008.

Dams account for 35% of installed capacity on Chile's central SIC grid and run-of-the-river plants 16%. The northern SING grid is less than 1% hydro.