Haiti hydro project receives Brazilian help

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI - Brazil, which is leading the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, is planning the construction of a 32-megawatt (MW) hydropower station in the Caribbean country.

The plant will be called Artibonite 4C and will be constructed about 37 miles from capital city Port-au-Prince.

The $150 million investment project will help to encourage the development of Haiti's infrastructure and economy. Haiti, together with Nicaragua, is among the poorest countries in Latin America.

Foreign aid makes up approximately 30% to 40% of the national government's budget. The Brazilian army has led the UN Haitian peacekeeping operation since 2004.

The Brazilian engineering brigade of the Peace Corps (Braengcoy) is leading the Artibonite 4C project and already has initiated topographic studies to decide on three possible sites next to the dam. The local government will choose the construction spot, taking into account the impact on families in the region. After completing the project plans and the financing, the construction will be tendered in international competition under a turnkey contract. Construction is projected to begin in January 2011, with completion set for June 2012.

The energy policy in Haiti today is precarious, with only a few plants burning diesel. In several regions, there is electricity only during short periods during the day, and at night, most of Haiti's capital city is in the darkness. The generating capacity of 32 MW may seem low, but is relevant to the energy infrastructure of Haiti, which is very poor.

Braengcoy estimates that the plant will supply electricity to the 500,000 inhabitants of the country. Besides, the construction of the small hydropower station will reduce Haiti's dependency on petrol imports.


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