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China-built project helps Ecuador meet its needs


11-16-2016 00:31 BJT

Full coverage: Xi Visits Ecuador, Peru and Chile, Attends APEC Summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping is to start a state visit to Ecuador on November 17th, to further promote bilateral ties. China and Ecuador have cooperated with each other in many fields, especially in the infrastructure sector. In 2010, China started building a hydropower station in Ecuador. With a power generating capacity of 1.5 million kilowatt hours, it meets 40 percent of the national power needs. And its completion also came at a critical time for the country.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook north-western Ecuador on April 16th this year, killing hundreds of people and leaving more than 20,000 homeless. Rescue operations were paralyzed due to the collapse of the power system. But a new Chinese-built hydropower station continued to produce electricity.

Just three days before the quake, four generating units of the Coca Codo Sinclair joined the national grid. During the earthquake, the system detected the abnormality and started protection procedures. The station stood the test of the quake, with no damage. And it started supplying power the next day.

"Many power stations were paralyzed in Ecuador after the quake. We had started generating power with four units, without completing all the eight units, to support the national grid. That ensured the rescue operations and normal life in affected areas," Li Yunxi, director with Sinclair Hydropower Station said.

The power station built by the Sinohydro Group was seen as a model for China-Ecuador cooperation.

"A hydropower station is quite important to Ecuador as we can transform from a pure importer of power to an exporter. It also will give us more clean energy. China plays a significant role in this process," Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long said.

Located in northeastern Ecuador and 130 kilometers from the capital Quito, the Sinclair hydropower station has a total capacity of 1.5 million kilowatts and an expected annual power generating volume of 8.8 billion kilowatt hours. With a total investment volume of 2.3 billion US dollars, this is the largest hydropower station built by China overseas. During the 6 years of construction, more than 15 thousand direct and indirect jobs have been created.

When the 8 units are in full operation, the country will save $600 million a year in energy costs. China is also building hydropower stations and thermal power stations in other Latin American countries including Argentina and Venezuela.

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