Venezuela to Build Two New Thermoelectric Plants

Reflecting a steady increase in the demand for electricity, Venezuela has decided to construct two new thermoelectric plants at a cost of $450 billion.

Caracas, Venezuela, May 16, 2006 —Last Friday, Venezuela announced the construction of two new thermoelectric plants, which it hopes to have in operation by the end of 2007.

According to a press release from the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, the plants will be located in the states of Falcon and Anzoátegui. In the latter, the Alberto Lovera plant will be constructed next to the Puerto La Cruz oil refinery, where it will supply the refinery with a third of its energy production. The rest will go to local energy consumption in Anzoátegui and part of Sucre state.

“In the conception of the plans of the Corporation, not only were the internal needs of the company evaluated, but also the needs of the sectors where it operates. That is why, instead of supporting the instillation of a 100 megawatt plant, we added the needs of the community and that’s why we constructed a 300 megawatt plant,” said Alejandro Granado PDVSA Vice-president of Refining, while describing the plans for the Alberto Lovera plant.

The Falcon state, Josefa Camejo plant, will be located on the land of the Paraguaná Refining Center (CRP), and like Alberto Lovera, a sizeable portion of its estimated 450 megawatt energy production will also go to meeting the needs of its sister refinery.

While the state electric company, CADAFE, will be constructing the plants, the land and the resources for their creation have come from PDVSA through various sources such as the National Development Fund (Fonden) and the Fund for the Social and Economic Development of the Country (Fondespa). Total estimated costs for both plants are approximately $450 million.

According to PDVSA, Alberto Lovera will utilize natural gas as its primary energy source and diesel as an alternative. Approximately 70% of the energy in Venezuela is generated through hydroelectric power from the Caroní river and the rest is from thermoelectricity- mostly from natural gas.

Nervis Villalobos, Vice-minister of Energy and President of CADAFE declared that the Alberto Lovera construction will begin immediately, “They are already going ahead with the preparation of the terrain and soon will begin the civil works, the units have already been bought and will be in Venezuelan ports before the end of 2006.”

According to Villalobos, Venezuela has invested $2 billion in the thermoelectric and hydroelectric energy sector, in recent years. On top of these plants, two more are currently being built, one in Guárico and another in Anzoátegui. Venezuelan energy demand is currently growing at 7% per year.