MANAGUA – The Nicaraguan government issued licenses to operate and maintain hydroelectric power stations to a Canadian firm and a domestic company, officials said.
The Energy and Mines Ministry granted the permits to Canada’s Hidroelectrica Piedra Puntuda S.A. and Nicaraguan firm Energia Tropical Sostenible Cerro Frio S.A., the spokeswoman for that portfolio, Maria Antonieta Santos, said on Friday.
One license is for the Piedra Puntuda project in Muelle de los Bueyes, a town in Nicaragua’s southern Caribbean region. The project calls for building a 15 MW hydroelectric power station on the Mico River, a tributary of the Escondido, the ministry said.
The other is for the 1.47 MW Las Cañas hydroelectric power plant, which will be built on the Yasica River – a tributary of the Tuma – in the northern province of Matagalpa, the portfolio said.
It said both licenses are for a period of 30 years and cover the operation and maintenance of the power plants.
The ministry also said it has drawn up a 2010-2016 plan aimed at “achieving substantive change in the electricity matrix” by switching from imported fossil fuels to environmentally friendly renewable energy.
The plan calls for “formulating, developing, executing and implementing projects based on renewable sources to generate 92 percent (of electricity) from renewable energy and just 8 percent (from) fossil fuels,” it said.
The government noted that Nicaragua has 2,000 MW of hydroelectric potential, only 5 percent of which is currently being used.
Some 66 percent of Nicaragua’s electricity comes from thermal sources, mainly oil derivatives, and the remainder from renewable sources.