The works to mitigate the advance of the regressive erosion of the Coca River are progressing. So far, in the initial or zero phase, about USD 12 million have been invested, informed this March 23, 2023 the Electrical Corporation of Ecuador (Celec).
This information was released after an inspection of the works being developed in the Coca River, to protect the intake works of the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric power plant, from the process of regressive erosion.
The Minister of Energy and Mines, Fernando Santos Alvite; the president of the Board of Directors of Empresa Coordinadora de Empresas Públicas(EMCO), Joaquín Ponce; the technical secretary of Public-Private Associations, Roberto Salas; and the general manager of Celec, Gonzalo Uquillas Vallejo, participated in the inspection of the works.
The works carried out
During stage 0, which is the initial phase, a subway screen of 279 piles crossed one with another is being built. These structures will be made of concrete and steel.
The piles will have a depth of 24 meters and a diameter of 1.20 meters . They will occupy a length of 220 meters in the riverbed.
At the moment, work is being carried out on the casting of a horizontal concrete beam, which will support the piles. The work is 87% complete and is scheduled for completion next month.
The purpose of this screen is to reduce the force of the water and prevent degradation of the riverbed in the event of further erosion.
Currently, the erosion front is located 7.56 kilometers downstream of the hydroelectric intake.
For this work, 78 people were employed in the area of influence, in compliance with the Amazon Law on the part of the contractor.
The works executed
This structure, together with other river management works (cofferdam and directional breakwater, which have already been executed) are part of a defense system for the intake structures.
These actions were proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Usace) , which, through a cooperation agreement, advises Celec on this matter. The objective is to protect and guarantee the useful life of the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric power plant.
This plant has a capacity to generate 1,500 megawatts of energy and is the largest in the country. It provides 30% of the energy consumed nationwide.
The manager of Celec, Gonzalo Uquillas, announced that the contracting process for the permeable dam will begin , as recommended by Usace.
At the moment they are working on the documents to initiate a contracting process, in accordance with the regulations established by the National Public Contracting Service (Sercop). The best offer for the interests of Ecuadorians will be chosen.
Uquillas also informed that in the coming months the process for the contracting of the so-called "spillway" (stage 1), a work that will have the purpose of slowing down the erosive power of the river that will be located downstream of the works of stage 0, will begin .
The Minister of Energy highlighted the collaboration of international institutions, such as Usace, in order to optimize the operation and useful life of the power plant.
The president of EMCO's Board of Directors highlighted the National Government's efforts to safeguard the Coca Codo Sinclair power plant, considered a "strategic work".