Spanish energy major Endesa is to develop a four unit hydroelectric generation project in Chile with an estimated capacity of 2,355 MW.

Endesa has set up a new company, Centrales Hidroeléctricas de Aysén, together with Chilean utility Colbun – holding 51% and 49% respectively – to develop the $4 billion project.

The four unit plant, with two units on the River Baker and two on the River Pascua, both some 1,700 km south of Santiago, is expected to be fully commissioned by the end of 2018.

Following feasibility and hydrological studies, a preliminary engineering study and environmental impact assessment the company will apply for regulatory during 2006 and 2007 with construction due to begin in 2008.

Of the $4 billion earmarked, $2.5 billion will go on the generation aspects with the remaining $1.5bn for a single transmission line to connect the so-called Aysén project to the national grid.

The final order to proceed with the project will be given by the new company’s shareholders.

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