Bids to build the 474MW Chihuido I project are to be opened next month.

In creating Emhidro (Emprendimientos Hidroelectricos Sociedad del Estado Provincial), the provincial government is looking to put Neuquen on the map of hydro development by leveraging the capabilities for additional schemes, including co-operating with other governmental authorities.

Emhidro will collaborate with other agencies on water resource studies, investment and advisory services as well as specific local project development.

The greenlight to build Chihuido I was given in the middle of last year by the province of Neuquen. While the plant is to generate 1800GWh of electricity per year, the provincial Government also stressed the flood management benefits that should also come with the project.

Five tenders have been submitted to build the project on the river Neuquen, not far from the confluence with the river Agrio. The budget for the project was cited a year ago as US$900M but most recently as US$1B.