With a reservoir of 3.2 billion cubic metres of water, El Quimbo is one of the Enel Groups largest investments in South America
Rome, Bogota, October 13th, 2015 Enel S.p.A. (Enel), acting through its Colombian subsidiary Emgesa, has started production at the El Quimbo hydropower plant in Colombia. With an installed capacity of 400 MW, the facility is located in the region of Huila, about 350 kilometres southwest of Bogota. The plant is fed by the Magdalena, the countrys largest river, and crosses six municipalities (Gigante, Garzón, Altamira, El Agrado, Paicol and Tesalia).
The filling of the reservoir began in late June after the completion of the principal civil works, which then led to the entry into service of the first of the plants two units. Ahead of the start of commercial operations, trials will be carried out at the plant for around 20 days. With the commissioning of the second unit expected by the end of next week the facility will be able to produce about 2.2 TWh per year, enough to meet around 4% of the country's electricity demand. In addition, the start of operations at the plant will help reduce the impact of El Niño, which has caused drought conditions, on the supply of electricity in the country.
"El Quimbo has already recorded a number of firsts. It is the most impressive engineering work built by the Enel Group in the last six years, is one of Enels largest hydropower investments in South America and is also the first privately financed power plant in Colombia, said Enel CEO Francesco Starace. "This facility further strengthens the Group's presence in the region, where we will be involved with significant investments in all sectors of our value chain in the coming years.
The Enel Group has invested approximately 1.2 billion US dollars in the project. These resources have made it possible to implement a major programme of initiatives in favour of local communities, including the construction of new housing units for more than 400 people, the building of nine bridges, including the largest viaduct in the country, and initiatives to protect biodiversity in the area, such as the restoration of more than 11,000 hectares of tropical vegetation on the left bank of the reservoir and the creation of veterinary rescue centres.
The construction of El Quimbo began in late 2010 following a tender organised by the Colombian government to meet the countrys growing electricity demand. With the start of operations at the hydropower plant, Emgesa, which Enel controls through Chilean companies Enersis and Endesa Chile, has achieved a market share nearing 21% in electricity generation in Colombia. In addition, El Quimbo and Betania, another hydropower plant owned by Emgesa located downstream of El Quimbo, meet up to 8% of national electricity demand.
With the start-up of El Quimbo, the Enel Group now has nearly 3,500 MW of installed hydro, oil&gas and coal capacity in Colombia, where in 2014 it generated about 13.6 TWh of power.
Enel is one of the major players in the Latin America energy market, where its subsidiary Enersis is one of the leading private utilities for installed capacity and number of customers. Enersis subsidiaries operate in five countries with about 17 GW of installed capacity, mainly in thermal and hydropower, and have 14.8 million customers. In Latin America, the Group also operates through Enel Green Power, which runs renewable energy plants in Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay that have a total installed capacity of more than 2 GW.
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