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Private operator required for Yacyreta

Argentina is looking for a private operator to take over the management of the 2700MW Yacyreta hydroelectric project on the Parana River between Argentina and Paraguay.

The Argentinean energy secretariat announced that the twentieth and last turbine of the Yacyreta project was brought on line in April. The first of the 20 vertical axis 185MW Kaplan turbines was commissioned in August 1994, with each new turbine being added at 72 day intervals.

Yacyreta is expected to produce an average of 17,000GWh of energy annually when all the turbines have been commissioned.

The bi-national hydro project has saddled Argentina with about US$7B in debt, and the government is eager to pass on the operation of the project to private hands without pumping any more money into the project.

The commissioning of the project has created a temporary glut of power. Argentina was forced to lower electricity tariffs in 1996 and seek markets for the power from Yacyreta in neighbouring Brazil.