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Ecuador seeks $1.9 billion in private power generation investment

09/20/2021 | 03:49pm EDT

QUITO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Ecuador's government said on Monday it will grant concessions for private companies to build and operate power generation plants and a new transmission system for the oil sector, with the projects demanding total investment of $1.9 billion.

President Guillermo Lasso, who took office in May, is seeking to boost the private sector's presence in strategic areas of the South American country's struggling economy, whose liquidity problems exacerbated last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We ratify our openness to responsible investors," Energy Minister Juan Carlos Bermeo said while presenting the projects.

The search comes as Ecuador's state power company CELEC races to repair idle thermal power plants to prepare them to provide backup electricity supply, as raging river erosion https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/ecuador-races-move-oil-pipelines-protect-power-plant-raging-river-2021-07-01 in the Amazon region threatens the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant, which supplies a third of the country's power.

The government will be seeking concessionaires for a handful of smaller renewable projects together amounting to 500 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity. Those wind, solar, hydroelectric and biomass projects together will require investment of around $875 million.

Ecuador is also seeking companies to develop a new 400-MW natural gas based power plant and a 290-km transmission line to connect the Andean nation's key oil industry to the national grid. Those projects are expected to require $600 million and $386 million in investment, respectively.

The projects are expected to begin operating between 2024 and 2026. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Luc Cohen Editing by Marguerita Choy)

ę Reuters 2021
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