According to President Rafael Correa, electric power shortages are a thing of the past in Ecuador. “The days when the power would fail for hours and days at a time are over because of the upgrades we have made to our generating capacity,” Correa said Saturday during his weekly address to the nation. “We have entered the exclusive community of nations that are energy self-sufficient.”
Correa recalled the power outages during the severe drought of 2009-2010, when rolling electric “brown-outs” were in effect nationwide. “All we had then was Paute and it could not supply our needs when water levels were low,” he said, referring to the power generation plant on the Rio Paute, east of Cuenca. “Today, our way of life does not need to change when there is a drought in Cuenca.”
Before 2000, Ecuador’s energy situation was even worse, Correa said, with some areas of the country going days without power.
Correa said the large-scale government investment to make Ecuador not only energy self-sufficient but an exporter of power to neighboring Peru and Colombia, is beginning to payoff.
Within the past four months, two of eight massive hydro projects the government began building in 2010 have gone on line. The 500-megawatt Sopladora generating plant on the Azuay – Morona Santiago provincial border went into service in August while the 1500-megawatt Coca Codo Sinclair plant east of Quito, the nation’s largest, went to full capacity last month during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
According to the government, all eight plants will be in operation in 2017, including Minas-San Francisco, under construction 50 miles southwest Cuenca.
“We are not only massively upgrading our generating capacity, but we are rebuilding our power grid to handle larger capacity and to make sure all Ecuadorians have reliable electricity,” Correa said.