Arlington, Virginia-based AES Corporation of the US, has won a concession for the 230MW Caracoles hydroelectric project in the province of San Juan, Argentina. The Caracoles project includes three hydroelectric facilities on the San Juan River where AES already owns and operates a 45MW hydro plant.

The project will involve the construction of an irrigation system to serve the province. The province, with credit support from the Republic of Argentina, will provide the funds to construct the irrigation system.

Commencement of construction is subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements and the successful closing of project financing. The current schedule is for AES to assume operation of the existing 45MW plant this year and to complete new construction in 2002.

San Juan has the fastest growing electric market in Argentina, with a 16 per cent demand growth last year, although it has little generation and weak interconnections.