After reviewing the financial report of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), which reveals very high debt levels, the government of Costa Rica has recommended that the authorities of the energy body look for allies, partners or other investors, for financing their projects, among which is the high volume, large hydroelectric construction project El Diquís in the southern region.
An article in Nacion.com, reports that "With this provision [the government] is aiming to curb ICE’s debts, which amounted to ¢1.8 billion in 2011. This category grew by 184% between 2007 and last year, whereas its equity rose by only 26% in that period. "
The planned investment for the hydroelectric mega-power plant El Diquís is $2.1 billion.
With the $1.2 billion, 350 MW hydroelectric station Reventazón, ICE searched for potential partners between public enterprises in China and Brazil to participate in the project, without reaching any agreements. Due to the urgency of Reventazón coming into operation in 2016, the ICE is going ahead with construction using its own equity and debt.
The state run electricity company reported that the first turbine in the Reventazón Hydroelectric Project of 73 MW went into operation in 2016 and that it will launch the other 4 generators.
The long-awaited entry into service of the Reventazon hydroelectric plant promises to bring some relief to electricity rates which in recent years have been a factor of concern in the manufacturing sector in Costa Rica, as well as putting the country back on the path chosen decades ago towards a clean energy matrix.
The lack of high-level strategic coordination in the affairs of the state run power company has led to a multi million dollar law suit whose costs will be paid for by all Costa Ricans.
An article in Nacion.com reports that in March 2015 the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) informed the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) that a multi million dollar loan for the construction of a large hydroelectric power station on the river Reventazón, was conditional on the water of the River Parismina not being used, in the same basin or above it, by other hydroelectric plants. Three months later, on June 4, the ICE pledged to buy energy from the Desarrollo Hidroeléctrico de Parismina S.A. (DHPSA), electricity that would be generated by a 20 MW hydroelectric plant to be built on the eponymous river. And just four days later, on June 11, the state power formalized with the IDB its commitment to not allow power stations on the Parismina river.
The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) has since late 2010 a set of rules which allow partnerships with private entities outside the general rules of government contracting.
Characterized by the vertical structure of its activities in the electricity market the Costa Rican Electricity Institute now has the flexibility to partner with private companies, allowing it to have a competitive advantages that could not be achieved individually in the short term."
After renting it for 12 years, the Costa Rican state power company, ICE, has paid $19 million to acquire the Peñas Blancas hydroelectric plant, 36 MW.
The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) exercised the purchase option which was its right from the start beginning, through the figure of trust, for the construction and operation of the Penas Blancas plant, in 2000.
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