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INSIDECOSTARICA.COM | COSTA RICA  NEWS |        Tuesday 13 September 2011

Costa Rica Puts Pirrís Hydroelectric Plant  Online

After 10 years of construction Costa Rica opened a new hydroelectric power plant on Monday that will use the Central American nation's tallest dam to supply clean electricity to 160.000 homes.

The 134-megawatt Pirris power plant is in the southern part of San José province. Rising 113 metres (371 feet) - three times the height of the tallest building in Costa Rica, the Banco Nacional tower in downtown San José - the dam is nearly two thirds the height of China's massive Three Gorges dam, though not nearly as wide.

The plant will generate enough energy to power for more than 500.000 people, according to state power utility, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE).

Costing us$627 million funded partly by Japan, the project is aimed at helping wean Costa Rica off costly oil imports as the country works toward eliminating its carbon footprint and switching to almost 100 percent renewable energy by 2021.

"This project is not just big in size, but also in its social impact and its stamp of commitment to clean energies," presidenta Laura Chinchilla said after cutting the ribbon.

"ICE's energy matrix is the most diversified worldwide. With hydropower, geothermal, wind and biomass, has been fulfilling a complex task and a rewarding challenge. Pirrís is an example of work, hope, commitment and heroism. Today it serves the country", said Mayorga Gravin, manager of ICE's electricity division.

At the height of the dam, a road was built to connect the towns of San Carlos de Tarrazú and Llano Bonito de León Cortés.

The Pirrís reservoir stores up to 30 million cubic metres of water.

The dam's conduction tunnel is another great feat of work, built of concrete and armored material with a depth of 1.200 meters deep and 10 kilometres long.




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