The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa Delgado, visited one of the eight hydroelectric power stations currently under construction - Minas San Francisco - located in the southeast of the country with the catchment area of Azuay, Loja and El Oro provinces. The construction progress to date is approximately 12%. The president was accompanied by senior government officials and regional authority representatives.
The project completion is planned for December 2015 - February 2016 and should provide at least 275 MW to the national grid, which is a minimum of 12% of the national consumption, making it the largest project in the south.
The hydroelectric plant will have a capacity of 275 MW and will generate about 1,300 GW of energy. It is considered the most important project of the Pacific hydrological regime.
The dam will be located in the San Francisco area, with the capacity of 16 million cubic metres of water stored in the reservoir and taken through a low pressure tunnel, 13.9 km in length and 4.75 m in diameter, and designed to carry 65 cubic metres per second to a surge tank 68 m high, connected to a steel pressure pipe, 3.75 m in diameter, composed of a vertical 456 m shaft and a horizontal section of 110 m in length.
The pipe ends in three splitters leading water to the vertical axis turbine housed in a box in the Gramalote sector. Each turbine is connected to an electric 91.66 MW generator. The generated energy is connected to a transformer located in the chain of 230 kV transformers. Energy is finally led to a substation where it contributes to the National Interconnected System.
"This is a new country with future, with strategic projects like Minas San Francisco, that are part of the productive matrix of energy projects that will produce renewable energy through hydroelectric power for Ecuadorian households," the president said in a brief statement after his first visit to the construction site.
He confirmed that these eight projects will be completed by 2016, providing the energy that the country requires and probably exporting power.