Falcon state coal to fuel thermoelectric plants

- Thursday, June 27, 2002

Falcon state coal to fuel thermoelectric plants

A group of Venezuelan mining entrepreneurs will develop the coal mining potential of the state of Falcon, offering an alternative for the integrated generation of electricity based on the use of coal-fueled thermoelectric plants supplied by the Cerro Pelao coalmines, Gilberto Sánchez, president of the Venezuelan mining chamber (Camiven), told BNamericas.

"The idea behind the project is that Venezuela has run into some energy shortage problems caused by climatological changes in the continent," Sánchez said.

Venezuela's most important energy supplier is the Guri hydroelectric plant in the country's southeast, which currently suffers from low water reserves, jeopardizing the electricity supply of a large area of the country. Water reserves this year have fallen to very dangerous levels.

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When the Venezuelan government put out a series of tenders for mining concessions in the state of Falcon a few months ago, there were no takers; now the process is being re-launched but as an integrated project which entails the construction of a thermoelectric plant in situ, plus the construction of a port designed to export surplus coal production; this would eliminate the need to transport the mineral to other ports.

This type of project could be copied in other areas of the country such as Zulia, and Táchira which have local coal production possiblities and energy shortages.

The Venezuelan energy and mining ministry must now grant a purchase and distribution license for the project, "since under the new electric power law in Venezuela, the state has to approve production and distribution of energy from those plants," Sanchez noted.