Patuca hydroelectric power projects speed up

The Honduran National Congress approved on Monday, January, 17 a decree for the construction of the hydroelectric power plants of Patuca II, Patuca IIA and Patuca III, in Olancho, and Los Llanitos and Jicatuyo in Santa Barbara.

It is expected that in three years Patuca III or Piedras Amarillas will be generating its first 104 megawatts of power, and then will begin the construction of Patuca II or Valencia and Patuca IIA or Tarrosa.

After the President makes a declaration of the areas to be expropriated, they will pass to the State ownership, with full rights.

An Appraisal Committee, composed of different state institutions, will determine the fair price to pay to the rightful owners of the land.

On February, 1 will begin the construction of the first phase of Patuca III, and it is expected that by January 2014 it will begin to generate electric power.

The Patuca III access road will be passing by Jamastran, department of El Paraiso.

The Patuca hydroelectric power project comprises three eastern departments: Olancho, El Paraiso and Colon. The projects will be funded by Mainland China, after Taiwan declined to do it last year.

These hydroelectric projects were pending from the administration of Manuel Zelaya, who could not carry them out.

It is projected that the three dams on the Patuca River will be completed in nine years, generating 524 megawatts of power.

With these hydropower projects Honduras will stop depending on thermal energy, thereby also getting cheaper energy.

The Ministry of Natural Resources (SERNA) determined that Patuca hydroelectric projects will not cause environmental damage in the Platano River Bioshphere, as that river does not even go near to that protected zone. Patuca projects have an environmental license expended by the Zelaya administration, however, in order to dispel any doubt, it has been subjected to an audit by the World Bank.

At first it was thought that this Patuca III hydroelectric power plant would take five years to build, but now with the help of the Continental Chinese the projected time has been reduced to three years.

For projects Los Llanitos and Jicatuyo a source of financing has not yet being identified, but the government is working on it.