Rucalhue hydro plant

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Rucalhue hydro plant is a 90MW hydropower facility planned to be built in Chile by Atiaia Energía Chile, the local unit of Brazilian renewables firm Atiaia Energia.

Atiaia wants to build it in Biobío region (VIII), 50km south of the city of Los Ángeles.

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The plant would use the potential energy of water stored in a 7.2Mm3 reservoir downstream of the convergence of the Biobío and Quilme rivers.

Rucalhue hydro plant would produce around 465GWh/y for Chile's central SIC grid, via a new dual circuit 220kV line, and supply approximately 143,000 people.

Work on Rucalhue hydro plant is penciled in to begin at the end of 2015, according to documents filed with Chile's environmental regular SEA, which will either reject or approval the project.

Construction would take an estimated 30 months and cost around US$240mn.

The Chilean government wants renewable energy sources to account for a larger proportion of generation.

But social opposition in the country to large-scale energy projects has made adding new large-scale hydroelectric plants exceedingly difficult in recent years, reaching a crescendo with the government's approval and subsequent rejection of the 2.75GW HidroAysén mega-dam project in the southern region of Aysén (XI).

Twenty years ago, hydroelectricity accounted for more than 70% of Chile's installed power generation capacity.

Today that share is just 37%, according to the energy ministry.

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