Salini Impregilo has announced it has successfully completed the reservoir works for the 400MW El Quimbo hydroelectric complex in the Colombian region of Huila.

The project will create a 55km-long reservoir of over 8000 hectares filled by the nation’s major river, the Magdalena – the largest artificial basin in Colombia. The electricity generated by El Quimbo will be able to cover about 8% of the country’s energy requirements and the sale abroad of the energy produced is also foreseen.

Owned by Emgesa (Enel group), El Quimbo lies in the heart of the Andes, between the Central and Western ranges, where the Magdalena River merges with the Paez River. The project includes a main dam, a secondary dam and a 400MW power station. The smaller dam is 66m tall and 400m long. The main dam is 160m tall, 700long m at the crest level and has a reinforced concrete surface of 80,000m2.

More than 2300 people worked on the hydroelectric project that was completed on time to meet the contractual deadline. Work involved building four tunnels 10m in diameter and 400m in length each, and built concrete works totalling 250,000m3. Some of the most advanced solutions to protect the environment and to redevelop an area of large agricultural development were implemented at the plant.

Salini’s contract at the project was valued at EUR 400 million. The company has been working for decades in Colombia building roads and hydroelectric plants. It completed the 820MW hydroelectric project on the Sogamoso River, 40km from Bucaramanga in the northwestern region of Santander, in early 2015 for the local client Isagen.