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Ecuador pressing ahead with power grid build-out

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Ecuador pressing ahead with power grid build-out

The slowdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced energy consumption worldwide, prompting authorities and stakeholders to look at how to ensure that previously built-up momentum is not lost.

One such case is Ecuador whose oil-dependent economy has been hard hit by the associated crude price crash and where the government had put in place an aggressive strategy to attract private investment.

Much of the planned spend targets the oil and gas and power sectors with several opportunities on offer, from public-private partnerships to a myriad of tenders to design and build infrastructure.

On the electricity front, much of the focus is on bolstering grid capacity and although the pandemic will temper offtake and delay projects, the system’s expansion will continue in order to cover forecast consumption, post-coronavirus.

The energy and non-renewable natural resources ministry's power master plan (PME) pegs required transmission and distribution investment at US$1.79bn and US$4.74bn, respectively.

The South American nation has been experiencing growing load demand with a record 4,316MW set in February, breaking the previous mark registered a month earlier.

Also Read Ecuador shores up dispatch amid record demand

Latest numbers from Ecuador’s national power operator (Cenace), however, may reveal COVID-19’s impact, as maximum demand this month through March 23 peaked at 4,032MW.

In addition, Cenace reported that electricity use between March 16 and 22 totaled 475.3GWh, down 10.9% from the week before.

"One of the determining factors for the decrease in the consumption of electrical energy in Ecuador is due to the paralysis of the commercial sector, where offices, restaurants, shopping centers, among other establishments, remain closed. Similarly, it must be taken into account that a part of the industrial sector is halted," said Cenace.

DEVELOPMENT PIPELINE

Information from state power transmission company Transelectric shows that early-stage work to advance dispatch projects is penciled in to begin this year.

The work includes geotechnical studies and structural design for tower foundations of the 7km, 230kV El Aromo-San Juan de Manta line which will connect the future El Aromo solar park with the national grid.

Transelectric also plans to begin drafting the environmental impact study (EIS) for the line.

Other EISs are scheduled for the San Idelfonso 230/138kV, 225MVA substation and lines Ducal Membrillo-Loja (138/69kV) and Huayrapamba-Loja (138/69kV) – both of which would stretch a combined 27km; Los Encuentros-Cumbaratza (230kV, 50km); and Cumbaratza-Delsitanisagua (138kV, 25km).

Also Read Ecuador fattens power transmission project wish list

Source: Transelectric

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