Pirrís hydroelectric project enters final phase

January 27, 2011

The Pirrís hydroelectric plant is set to begin generating electricity after 10 years of construction. Workers have begun filling the reservoir, and over the next five months officials expect the water will cover 114 hectares (282 acres).

Once the reservoir is filled, the final phase of the project will begin, which includes fine-tuning, construction of a computer tower to control water flow, and technical tests.

The Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) estimates that the plant will begin producing electricity in September of this year. Located on the Pirrís River in the central Pacific region, the plant has the capacity to generate 134 megawatts of electricity, which would provide power to 160,000 homes, according to ICE estimates.

Eduardo Doryan, ICE’s executive president, said in a statement that, “We are amid a time of great pride for the workers at this project. Years of effort have passed, with obstacles overcome, and today Pirrís shows our capacity to build projects that are fundamental to the country’s development.”

In addition to its electricity-generating properties, the Pirrís dam will serve as a two-lane highway linking the cantons of León Cortes and Tarrazú. Currently, a small footbridge connects the cantons.

The Pirrís project is the most expensive in Costa Rica’s history, costing $600 million. The dam measures 266 meters across and 113 meters high, making it the tallest dam in the country.

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