Hydroelectric Plants in Uruguay

The Republic of Uruguay, the second smallest country in South America, is highly urbanized with nearly half of its inhabitants living in and around Montevideo, the capital, main port, and commercial center located on the broad Rio de la Plata estuary. The country's electricity business dates to 1886 when the first public lighting started in Montevideo. The state-owned Admin Nacional de Usinas y  Transmisione Electricas (UTE) was created in October 1912 by President Dr Jose Batlle y Ordonez and remains a vertically-integrated utility which generates, transmits, and distributes electricity throughout the country.

Four hydroelectric plants account for well over 90% of Uruguay's electricity  About half is supplied by the binacional 1,890-MW Salto Grande plant on the Rio Uruguai and the balance from UTE’s wholly-owned hydro plants on the Rio Negro. Furthest upstream -- and the oldest -- is Gabriel Terra (right, on-line in 1945), then Baygorria (left, 3 X 36, on-line in 1962), and finally Constitucion (El Palmar) (center) with three 110-MW units on-line in 1982. Uruguay's rivers have been tapped for all but 200 MW of their hydroelectric potential. A major modernization program was completed at Gabriel Terra in the late 1990s. The work scope included new runners and governors, generator overhauls, new I&C systems, and ancillary equipment. The renovated sets have a rating of 36.6 MW, up 20% from the design rating.

Photographs courtesy of Admin Nacional de Usinas y Trans Elec (UTE)
Posted 7 Feb 2004

Updated 09/09/06

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

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