Bolivia Greenlights $2.65 Billion Budget to Increase Country's Energy Reserves
Bolivia has allocated $2.56 billion to boost its electricity reserves, increase transmission lines and start exporting power to Argentina.
According to officials, the Central Bank of Bolivia provided the funds from international reserves that proved to be beneficial to the country in the last decade.
Eduardo Paz, president of Bolivia's state-owned utility, said that three thermoelectric plants are operational this year: Icona, Ragweed and Santa Barbara located in central Bolivia's Cochabamba region, Power Engineering International reported.
Paz added that technical studies will be conducted this year for the construction of hydroelectric plants.
"One of the plants will be in southwestern Bolivia and in operation in two years," he noted, as quoted by PEi.
Argentina and Bolivia both agreed to construct a 500 kW transmission line connecting the Bolivian town of Yacuiba and Argentina's Tartagal. The second part of the deal aims to expand the transmission line to Argentina's Jujuy province.
Luis Alberto Sanchez, Bolivia's Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energy, announced that they are planning to export around 9 GW of electricity to Argentina and Brazil. In July 2015, Bolivia agreed to create a bi-national technical committee to export 8 GW of electricity to Brazil.
Argentina will get 1 GW of electricity from Bolivia, generated by thermal power from the Gran Chaco. Bolivia consumes around 1300 MW domestically, with the surplus retailed to its neighboring countries.
Bolivia is also behind the construction of the El Bala hydroelectric plants located in the northern region of La Paz, Argentina. Italian company Geodata was employed in July 2015 to develop the final design for hydroelectric waters from the La Paz and Beni rivers. Once completed, the plant is expected to generate between 1600 MW and 4 GW.
This month, Bolivia's Plurinational Legislative Assembly said that it has officially approved state-owned utility Empresa Nacional de Energia's 50-MW photovoltaic (PV) project located in the western department of Oruro, SeeNews Renewables reported.
Other LatAm Countries Not Advancing in Energy Sector
Bolivia is showing advancements in its energy sector, but not all Latin American countries can say the same.
The Central American nations have slowed down because the infrastructure supporting the Regional Electricity Market is staggering. A solution to the problem is expected to be done in at least three more years.
In 2011, many countries -- including Guatemala and Panama -- have pledged to build a market with an efficient infrastructure. However, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua have failed to deliver electricity to their people and are inferior compared to Costa Rica's 96 percent electrification.
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