The Public Services Authority has canceled 40 applications for hydroelectric concessions because the companies have failed to develop the projects in the time period prescribed by law.
Furthermore, the authority canceled the award of the Bajo de Mina project, which had already submitted an approved environmental impact study, but which had not started construction. Following this cancellation, the project was auctioned to a company owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who offered $32 million for that and another two concession. These two projects are among 13 that are currently under construction.
Of the 40 concessions that have been canceled, 24 of them are in the process of being awarded to other interested parties, said the authority’s Director of Electricity Rafael De Gracia.
The most recent auction of hydroelectric concessions was conducted for projects at Santa María, La Soledad, La Laguna, Gariché 2 and Gariché 3.
In this auction, seven companies submitted bids, five of which resulted in the government getting a better price to continue with the project.
Companies have 12 months to apply for an environmental impact assessment. Once the assessment is approved, the authority gives its permission to start the project. If construction does not begin, the government has the right to cancel the concession and award it to someone else, which is what happened with the Bajo de Mina project.
The government is seeking to expand the country’s hydroelectric power supply to help reduce its dependence on carbon fuels.