The loan is the second tranche of debt assigned by CAF to the project under construction in Raul Leoni district of Bolivar state. In 2004 the organisation loaned US$300M to the scheme being developed by CVG Electrificacion de Caroni (CVG Edelca), and which has a total budget of just over US$3B.

As the final piece of the hydro development on the Lower Caroni river, the Manuel Piar plant will have an installed capacity of 2160MW – or 14% of the capacity of the cascade.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2014 and by then the construction period would have been 12 years. Commissioning, though, is to start two years earlier, and when the plant is fully operational the annual energy output is expected to be about 12,100 GWh.

CAF has loaned more than US$1.8B to develop the electric production and transmission sector in Venezuela over the last 15 years, and also supported grid links for power exports to the boarder region with Brazil. CVG Edelca is a state-owned utility that produces most of the hydro-rich country’s electricity.