La Higuera hydro plant
La Higuera is one of two hydro power plants resulting from a 50/50 joint venture formed in 2004 by Pacific Hydro and Norwegian developer Statkraft to build, own and operate run-of-river hydro power plants in the Tinguiririca Valley, approximately 150km south of Santiago.
Opened on October 2010 by Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, La Higuera and La Confluencia were the first run-of- river hydro power plants with an installed capacity of over 100 MW inaugurated in Chile since 2000, a milestone to meet the country’s target to produce 20% of renewable energy by 2020.
Using the natural flow of the Tinguiririca River to generate renewable energy, La Higuera has an installed capacity of 155 MW, enough to supply in excess of 452,000 Chilean homes. Its operations abate approximately 223,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution every year, the equivalent to taking more than 135,000 vehicles off the road.
Clean energy generated at La Higuera is supplied to Chile’s central grid under a long term Power Purchase Agreement with Chilectra, the largest electricity distributor in the country.
From development through to operation, La Higuera has been helping to meet Chile’s increasing demand for electricity, without increasing emissions, and contributing to the country’s economic growth and to the sustainable development of the local communities.
Through Tinguiririca Participa – a community fund created in 2007 – over 130 projects have been proposed, developed and implemented by the inhabitants of the surrounding communities, improving the quality of life of more than six thousand people living in the Tinguiririca Valley.
In 2006, La Higuera became the first run-of river hydro power plant in Chile and the world’s largest hydro to receive registration under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism to issue and trade in carbon credits.