An $18 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will be used to refit the Francisco Morazán hydroelectric dam in Honduras, helping to boost the adaptability and integration of renewable energies to the country’s power system.

The Francisco Morazán plant started operations in 1986 and currently has an installed capacity of 300MW. In 2018, generation reached 1,625 GWh. It is now the main hydroelectric dam in Honduras, and the one with the largest contribution to the national grid, with 16% of generated energy.

With equipment ageing however, the plant could suffer service interruptions due to failures and increasingly longer unscheduled stops. In addition, the growing presence of Variable Renewable Energies, which are playing a bigger than ever role in Honduras’s generation matrix, is leading to an increasing wear and tear of certain elements of the dam, which provides support services that are crucial for a sustained and reliable power supply.

With this operation, Honduras is seeking to boost the hydroelectric plant’s reliability and operational efficiency in order to meet the system’s needs and make up for the fluctuations of the renewable energy variables in a cost-effective and efficient way.

This renovation project also contemplates replacing the monitoring and control mechanisms that are part of the command and supervision system, leading to increased digitalization of the plant’s management, operation and maintenance.