AES Caracoles, a subsidiary of Virginia, US-based AES Corporation, has completed the signing of a 40-year concession agreement for the 230MW Caracoles project on San Juan River in Argentina. The company has also taken over the operation of Quebrada de Ullum, an existing 45MW hydroelectric plant.

When completed, the Caracoles, a multi purpose hydroelectric and irrigation project, will consist of the existing Quebrada de Ullum plant and two newly constructed dams and their associated hydro facilities. The Province of San Juan, with credit support from the Republic of Argentina, is providing the funds for the irrigation portion of the project.

The signing of the concession and take over of Quebrada de Ullum marks the completion of the first phase of the project.

At this time AES has no cash investment in the project. However, under the concession agreement AES is committed to obtain project financing for the new construction by late 1998, and complete the construction by 2002.

AES already owns and operates another 45MW hydro facility, the Ullun project on the San Juan river. The award of the project to AES was first announced in 1997.