Entidad Binacional Yacyretá (EBY), the joint Argentinean and Paruguayan agency implementing the Yacyretá hydro power project, is inviting proposals for the completion of the remaining work at Yacyretá, as well as construction of the recently proposed Ana Cua hydro plant on a BOT basis.

The remaining work at Yacyretá will require an investment of about US$700M, and the 270MW Ana Cua hydro plant needs an additional US$300M. Funding for the whole project is to be supplied by the successful bidders and will be set against the power generated by the Ana Cua plant in the future. Construction of this project will begin in 2001 and is expected to take three years. The plant will include two Kaplan turbines that will use excess flow in normal conditions or during the Parana river’s high tide periods. Work will involve construction of the power house on the hillside for the Kaplan turbines which are similar to the 20 already installed at the main Yacyretá station.

The 43m high Yacyretá dam is jointly owned by Argentina and Paraguay and located on the Parana river which borders the two countries. The dam is intended to generate 2700MW of hydro power at its full supply level (FSL) of 83m. Although the construction of Yacyretá is virtually complete, the reservoir has not been filled to its FSL as EBY has not resettled all the communities which will be submerged by the reservoir. The reservoir is currently being operated at about 75m. The World Bank has opposed filling the reservoir to its FSL until all concerns about resettlement are addressed.

In January 2000, an independent review panel, appointed by the World Bank, recommended that the reservoir water level should be raised to the design FSL, after undertaking an action plan to mitigate outstanding concerns. As part of the mitigation activities, Argentina and Paraguay have agreed to construct 3600 homes for the displaced people as well as a number of other measures.

The World Bank has not formally endorsed the action, but the independent review panel says that impounding the reservoir to FSL will end uncertainty over the US$8.5B project’s future, and will increase the project’s earnings by expanding electric power generation and providing more effective flood control.