Bolivia mulls hydroelectric policies

Sept. 25, 2009 at 6:00 PM
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LA PAZ, Bolivia, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Bolivia's president says he is interested in electricity exports and intends to nationalize two hydroelectric plants.

Agencia Boliviana de Informacion reported Friday that President Evo Morales oversaw the delivery of turbines to the $85 million Misicuni Renewable Energy Hydroelectric Project in Cochabamba. The facility includes a 400-foot-high rock-filled and concrete face dam, a 12.4-mile tunnel for water diversion and a pressurized piping system to convey water.

Morales sees the Misicuni facility as part of a larger plan by his government to expand Bolivia into a regional power center, telling journalists, "In the medium-term, I am convinced, Bolivia must be exporting energy."

Morales also announced plans to nationalize two hydroelectric plants. "The government seeks to guarantee human rights in Bolivia. ... Therefore, comrades, the Corani and Santa Isabel hydroelectric plants will have to pass to the control of the Bolivia State. The state is going to own those hydroelectric plants, which were privatized by neo-liberal governments."

The Bolivian government has come into conflict with foreign investors over its policies nationalizing the country's natural gas and water resources.

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