COSTA RICA’S STATE-owned power and telecom utility Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) is arranging for funds and preparing bidding rules for the construction of its US$292M Pirris hydroelectric project.

The project is located in the cantons of León Cortés and Tarrazú, in the province of San José and will harness water from the Pirris river to generate electricity. A 133m high and 270m long RCC dam will be built for this project.A spillway with a capacity of 2350m3/sec will also be built to handle the river flows. The project will contribute 128MW of additional power to the Costa Rican grid when it comes on stream in 2007/2008.

ICE has already undertaken some preliminary work, such as access roads and construction camps, to get the project started. According to current schedule, prequalification of contractors will probably be completed in February 2003, with the intent of calling for construction bids in April. The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) has already granted a US$70M loan to ICE for project construction. Funds amounting to US$134M have also been provided by Japan Bank for International Corporation (JBIC). Japan’s EPDC Environmental Engineering Service is the consultant for the project.