Yacyretá hydroelectric plant, owned by Paraguay and Argentina, already provides about 20% of Paraguay’s energy requirements. Now calls for international bids to expand it are being prepared.
Interview with Ángel Recalde, Managing Director — Yacyretá
Leading Edge (LE): According to the Central Bank of Paraguay (BCP), the Paraguayan economy is forecast to grow by over 4% this year. What is behind this strength?
Ángel Recalde (AR): Effectively, the BCP carried out a review of its GDP estimation for 2017 and raised its increase from the 3.7% it had originally forecast to 4.2%. The bank reports agree that the economy is continuing to grow, thanks to good performances in the main production sectors. The number of foreign industries that invest in the country has increased, as have the harvests for agricultural products that will be exported.
LE: Paraguay is the fourth-largest exporter of electricity in the world. How does this benefit the country?
AR: Of all the electricity it generates, the Paraguayan electricity system uses just 25%. This enviable situation ensures supply for all our needs, which supports national development, creates employment and reduces poverty. In fact, a significant number of foreign businesses have recently set up here, attracted by this security of supply, low electricity tariff costs, high incentives for the establishment of companies and low taxes, the lowest in the region.
“In 2018, a call for bidding is planned for the extension of the plant’s generating facilities.”
LE: With the investment in major works envisaged for the dam, how will production capacity be increased?
AR: The documentation is now complete for the call for international competitive bidding to mechanise the Aña Cuá branch, the flow of which is around 10% of the main branch. This venture will provide 10% of the energy currently generated, which will increase from 20,000GWh/year to 22,000GWh/year. And in 2018, a call for bidding is planned for the extension of the plant’s generating facilities with three additional units. The increase in power will be 465MW, or 15%.
LE: What is Yacyretá’s share of the Paraguayan and Argentinian electricity markets?
AR: Yacyretá provides more than 15% of the electrical energy required by Argentina and supplies nearly 50% of the total hydroelectric energy. In Paraguay, Yacyretá covers around 20% of energy requirements and the rest is supplied by the Itaipú and Acaray plants — 72% and 8% respectively. It should be made clear that practically 100% of generation is based on hydroelectricity.
“The documentation is now complete for the call for international competitive bidding to mechanise the Aña Cuá branch, the flow of which is around 10% of the main branch.”
LE: What is the outlook for the energy sector in Paraguay?
AR: The authorities plan to fully exploit the rivers for the production of energy. Moreover, they have scheduled with Argentina the development of much larger projects such as Itá Corá-Itatí, with a power output of around 1,600MW, and the Corpus plant, with a power output of around 3,200MW. In parallel, they intend to start developing non-conventional renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power. At the moment, wind-speed, direction and continuity studies are being carried out around our plant. We are strongly committed to the use of renewable resources, such as water, wind and the sun.