Hydroelectric Plants in Costa Rica

Alberto Echandi Rebuild
Location: Alajuela
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 1 X 4.7 MW Francis
Operation: 1990
T/G supplier: Bell, BBC
Quick facts: The first HPP at this site in San Ramon Canton was built in 1909.  It has been rebuilt several times, most recently in 1990 with a horizontal Francis turbine.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 29 Dec 2004

Angostura
Location: Cartago
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 3 x 57 MW Francis
Operation: 2000
T/G supplier: Voest, Mitsubishi Electric
EPC: Ingendesa
Quick facts: This is the newest and largest HPP in the Rio Reventazon basin. Angostura is in Turrialba canton and uses water from the Reventazon, Tuis and Turrialba rivers.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 26 Dec 2003

Arenal
Location: Guanacaste
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 3 x 52.4 MW Francis
Operation: 1979-1980
T/G supplier: Fuji, Mitsubishi Electric
Quick facts: Costa Rica's multiuse Proyecto de Riego Arenal-Tempisque (PRAT) scheme was developed between 1975 and 1978 and is administrated by the Servicio Nacional de Aguas Subterráneas, Riego y Avenamiento (SENARA). PRAT channels water from the Arenal Lake, which originally used to flow down the Caribbean basin, towards the Pacific basin through a three-plant HPP cascade. Construction started on Arenal in 1974.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 23 Dec 2003

Avance
Location: Cartago
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 1 X 240 kW Pelton
Operation: 1938
T/G supplier: Escher Wyss, GE
Quick facts: The Tres Rios complex consists of three minihydro plants on the Rio Tiribi in La Union Canton. These were privately-developed and acquired by ICE in mid-1975.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 29 Dec 2004

Cachi
Location: Cartago
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 2 x 32 MW, 1 X 37 MW Francis
Operation: 1966-1978
T/G supplier: Toshiba
Quick facts: Cachi is in Jimenez canton and its 32-MW turbines were twice the size of the 15-MW machines at La Garita and Rio Macho, then the largest in Costa Rica. Cachi's arch dam in Valle de Ujarraz is unique in the country and uses water from the Macho and Reventazon rivers.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 26 Dec 2003

Cariblanco
Location: Alajuela
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 2 X 40 MW Francis
Operation: 2007
T/G supplier: Litostroj, Koncar
Quick facts: In Feb 2007, the first set was commissioned at this plant on the Rio Sarapiqui. The $170mn project was financed by Banca de Inversion del Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (BNCR).

Photograph courtesy of Dirección Sectorial de Energía
Posted 19 May 2007

Don Pedro
Location: Heredia
Operator: Enel Latin America LLC
Configuration: 1 X 14 MW Pelton
Operation: 1996
T/G supplier: Sulzer Escher Wyss, Canadian General Electric
EPC: Ingendesa, Jose Cartellone Construcciones
Quick facts: Don Pedro is a peaking hydro plant in Sarapiquí 45km north of San José. Water is diverted from the Rio San Fernando by means of a concrete gravity dam and flows through a siltation basin and then 3km of open canal and tunnel. Water is stored in a small geomembrane-lined reservoir designed to store about 5hr worth of water which is delivered to the powerhouse by a 3km penstock. Water then flows through a tailrace canal to the Rio Volcán. A 14km, 34.5kV overhead transmission line connects to ICE's Toro Substation.

Photograph courtesy of Enel Latin America LLC
Posted 20 May 2008

La Joya
Location: Cartago
Operator: Union Fenosa
Configuration: 3 X 17 MW Francis
Operation: 2006
T/G supplier: Alstom
EPC: Alstom, Union Fenosa, Ghella, Seli
Quick facts: This site is downstream of the Cachi plant on the Rio Reventazón. It was first used by Cia Nacional de Fuerza y Luz SA for a minihydro plant in 1915.Union Fenosa is a 65% owner of the €61mn BOT project. The €49mn civil work was subcontracted to Seli and Ghella. Construction started in eb 2003 and included a 7.9km long, 6.18m diameter tunnel, drilled using a double-shield Robbins TBM.

Photograph courtesy of Union Fenosa
Posted 9 Sep 2006

Los Lotes
Location: Cartago
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 1 X 375 kW Pelton
Operation: 1940
T/G supplier: Voith, Schorch
Quick facts: Part of the Tres Rios complex. Los Lotes was rebuilt in 1956.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 29 Dec 2004

Miguel Dengo Benavides
Location: Guanacaste
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 3 x 60 MW Francis
Operation: 1982
T/G supplier: Mitsubishi Heavy Indust, Hitachi
Quick facts: Benavides, aka Corobici, is the second of the three ArCoSa plants and is 4.5km north of Canas. It supplies about 730 GWh/yr to the Costa Rican grid. Miguel Dengo B was the plant project manager and was killed in a plant construction accident in Dec 1980.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 23 Dec 2003

Pirris-Garita
Location: San Jose
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 2 X 64 MW Francis
Operation: 2011
T/G supplier: VA TECH
EPC: Astaldi
Quick facts: In Apr 2001, JBIC supplied a $134.8mn loan for the Pirris hydroelectric project. The plant is in the cantons of Leon Cortes and Tarrazu, 70km south of San Jose. The RCC dam on the Rio Pirris is 133m high and 270m long J-Power was an engineering consultant on the project and completed early studies for Pirris as far back as 1992.

Photograph by Soy Tico (facebook)
Posted 13 May 2015

Puerto Escondido
Location: Cartago
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 1 X 184 kW Pelton
Operation: 1940
T/G supplier: Escher Wyss, Dornhoff
Quick facts: Part of the Tres Rios complex.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 29 Dec 2004

Rio Machi
Location: Cartago
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 2 x 18 MW, 3 X 35 MW Pelton
Operation: 1959-1978
T/G supplier: Toshiba, Vevey, Andritz, Mitsubishi Electric
Quick facts: Rio Macho is the oldest of the three plants in the Rio Reventazon basin. It is in Valle de Orosi, Paraiso canton. The first phase of the plant was built between 1959 and 1963 and had two 15-MW Pelton units. Subsequent expansion of the water collection system culminated in 1972 in the addition of two 30-MW sets and a third 30-MW machine was added in 1978.The first two sets were replaced by Andritz in 2013. Rio Macho operates with a head of 460 m, the highest in the country. The plant uses water from the Blanco, Macho, and Pejibaye rivers.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 26 Dec 2003

Rio Volcan
Location: Heredia
Operator: Enel Latin America LLC
Configuration: 1 X 17 MW Pelton
Operation: 1998
T/G supplier: Sulzer, Canadian General Electric
EPC: Sulzer, Jose Cartellone Construcciones
Quick facts: This complex small hydro project is in Sarapiquí, 45km north of the city of San José and uses water from the Volcán and Volcancito rivers. Water is diverted via concrete gravity dams to a degraveler downstream of the Volcán dam. From there, a 1.4km tunnel runs to a siltation basin, from which a 600m tunnel conveys water to a small geomembrane-lined reservoir. A 4km penstock conveys the flow from the regulating reservoir to the powerhouse with a 3-jet, horizontal Pelton turbine. Power is transmitted through a 14km, 34.5kV overhead transmission line to ICE’s Toro Substation. The Don Pedro and Rio Volcan projects were originally developed by Covanta Energy.

Photograph courtesy of Enel Latin America LLC
Posted 21 May 2008

Sandilal
Location: Guanacaste
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 2 x 16 MW Kaplan
Operation: 1992
T/G supplier: Voest, Siemens
Quick facts: Sandillal is the last of the three ArCoSa plants Construction on Sandillal started in 1987 and it went into operation in Nov 1992.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 23 Dec 2003

Toro-I
Location: Alajuela
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 2 X 11.6 MW Francis
Operation: 1995-1996
T/G supplier: Impsa, Sade-Vigesa
EPC: Saret
Quick facts: The Toro complex is in in the Rio Toro basin cascade in Valverde Vega canton. Studies on hydroelectric development in the area were completed from 1981 to 1983 and construction of the project began in 1990.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 29 Dec 2004

Toro-II
Location: Alajuela
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 2 X 32.6 MW Francis
Operation: 1996
T/G supplier: Litostroj, Sade-Vigesa
EPC: Saret

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 29 Dec 2004

Ventanas-Garita
Location: Alajuela
Operator: ICE
Configuration: 2 X 48.7 MW Francis
Operation: 1987
T/G supplier: Fuji, Marelli
EPC: ICE
Quick facts: This plant is on the Rio Ciruelas and was an extension to the La Garita project.

Photograph courtesy of Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
Posted 19 May 2007

Abbreviations

Data: industcards, Platts UDI World Electric Power Plants Data Base

Updated 16-May-2015

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