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COIRCO to discuss continuation of Argentina’s Portezuelo hydroelectric dam


COIRCO to discuss continuation of Argentina’s Portezuelo hydroelectric dam

Argentina Explica
Photo: Explica

The Inter-Jurisdictional Committee of the Colorado River (COIRCO), a group of governors from the five provinces overseeing the river’s management, meets today to debate the environmental impacts of the Portezuelo del Viento hydroelectric megaproject.

The Portezuelo plant is set to be built south of the Mendoza province in central Argentina. Considered to be a strategic program for the country with an estimated cost of $1 billion, the facility is projected to supply energy to over 130,000 homes and enhance domestic water management.

The initiative has been criticised for its environmental effect on the Colorado River ecosystem and neighbouring communities, as well as the involvement of multinational mining companies. An initial assessment calculates that thousands of hectares of land will be flooded, forcing the rearrangement of national and provincial highway layouts.

The construction of the plant is expected to face delays due to continued COIRCO reservations, a lack of private financing and enduring credit instability after the government’s bond payment default last May. Mendoza’s authorities have extended the deadline to obtain technical and financing offers from private companies until July 3, although the date to initiate construction has yet to be announced.

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