The Jlapan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) has signed a loan agreement with Costa Rica-based Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) to provide up to US$134.8M for the Pirris hydroelectric power development project

The loan will fund the procurement of materials, equipment and services for the construction of a 128MW hydroelectric power plant and related facilities in the midstream of the Pirris river, 70km south of the capital, San Jose. It is the fourth JBIC-funded project in the Republic of Costa Rica, bringing total non-official development commitments to US$358.4M.

Costa Rica is rich in hydro and geothermal power resources, with hydroelectric power accounting for around three-quarters of ICE’s total power supply. However, demand for electricity has been steadily increasing in line with the country’s economic growth, and is expected to rise at an annual rate of 5.7% until 2020. Although the present facilities are sufficient to meet demand, serious shortages are predicted from 2006 onwards, unless more power plants are developed.

Costa Rica also needs to improve the reliability of its power system’s stability in order to attract direct foreign investment in its high-tech industry. The government has developed a National Energy Plan, which includes the construction of 29 power generation facilities by 2020 and the development of hydro resources.