LA PAZ Ė The Bolivian government has signed a contract with the German firm Siemens to expand the generating capacity of a thermoelectric plant from 200 to 480 megawatts of power, for an investment of $392.5 million.
Executives of the National Electricity Company, or Ende, and of Siemens signed an agreement in the town of Warnes in the eastern Bolivian province of Santa Cruz, where the plant is located.
Hydrocarbons and Energy Minister Luis Sanchez noted in a speech that the German firmís bid to win the expansion project included preferential prices, the installation of a thermoelectric services center and the training of new professionals in the sector.
The company will build two combined-cycle production plants to increase the power output of four other plants.
Bolivian President Evo Morales told the business executives that with the investments made in the power sector, energy production will be increased not only in order to build up the nationís reserves but also to produce an excess that can be exported to nearby countries.
According to Boliviaís plan, by the year 2000 Bolivia will produce some 2,500 megawatts and by the year 2025 between 9,000 and 10,000 megawatts for export, chiefly to the Brazilian market.
Bolivia currently has a production capacity of some 1,900 megawatts, while peak demand can be as much as 1,300 megawatts, according to figures released by Minister Sanchez.
The government nationalized the electricity industry in 2010 and since then has invested some $900 million in generation, transmission and distribution, whereas the new plan contemplates an investment of $1.8 billion over the next five years.