GE Hydro has announced that the first two turbine-generators installed at the Caruachi hydroelectric project in Venezuela have entered commercial service. Unit one began service on schedule and unit two came on line a month ahead of the contract completion date.
The 180MW Kaplan turbine-generators are among 12 ge-hydro units scheduled to be installed and commissioned over the next three years for the Caruachi project, which will total 2160MW when it is completed. One of the world’s largest hydro projects currently under construction, it is located on the Caroni river, approximately 35km from the confluence of the Caroni and Orinoco rivers at Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela.
In addition to the power station, the Caruachi project includes a dam and reservoir, bringing the total project cost to an estimated US$1.5B. The Caruachi project is the third hydroelectric complex undertaken by the state-owned utility, C.V.G. Electrificación del Caroní, C.S. (EDELCA) of Caracas.
After a competitive tendering process, EDELCA awarded the contract for the design, supply and installation of the main electro-mechanical plant to a consortium of Kvaerner of Norway, GE Canada and Elin Transormatoren GmbH of Austria. The contract has a total value of US$500M and is financed by multiple bilateral loans principally from export credit agencies in Europe and North America.
Major work on this contract began in 1998. Following GE’s acquisition of Kvaerner’s hydro business in 1999, over 90% of the Caruachi contract is now being carried out by GE Hydro, including all aspects of the design, supply and installation of the turbines, generators, governors, exciters and cranes. Consortium partners are supplying power transformers and ancillary equipment.
The principal components were designed and manufactured by members of the consortium. Including the subcontractors for the project, materials, components and services have been supplied from 16 countries. Major fabrications and other items have been supplied by Venezuelan companies.
Shipping of equipment to the Caruachi site began in 1998 and now is approximately 90% completed. Installation of the hydro turbines began in the same year and is approximately 50% completed.