LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales inaugurated on Thursday a 120 MW hydroelectric dam that was partially financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The $142 million Misicuni Dam is located in the central province of Cochabamba and is part of a complex that includes a reservoir.
The inauguration of the new plant raises Bolivia’s installed generating capacity to 2,099 MW; the country’s electricity demand totals 1,500 MW, leaving a surplus that can be held in reserve or exported.
Domestic electricity demand a decade ago amounted to around 700 MW, a total roughly equivalent to the country’s production capacity at the time.
Morales said the inauguration was historic because the Misicuni project had been 60 years in the making.
Energy Minister Rafael Alarcon said the IDB’s willingness to partly fund the project was a sign of the Bolivian government’s credibility as a borrower.
The project also was partly funded by the nation’s treasury and the state-run Empresa Nacional de Electricidad.
Bolivia has ambitious plans to become the electricity hub of South America’s Southern Cone by 2025 with installed generating capacity of 8,000 MW thanks to production from thermoelectric and hydroelectric plants, as well as alternative sources such as solar.
Bolivia is currently in talks with Argentina on a potential 15-year electricity-export deal.