peru-hydroelectricHydroelectricity is currently Peru’s predominate source of power

Peruvians pay about 11 cents per kilowatt hour on average.

Like most of the developing world, Peru has increased electrification. A rate of 45% in 1990, 79% in 2006, now at 88.8% thanks to the SEIN, the national interconnected electric system. It’s not hard to see the difficulty of providing electric service to remote regions.

The power sector was privatized in 1992. Today, 38 companies generate electricity; there are four dominant companies. Another 78 industries generate their own electricity for on-site use. Most transmission is private. The greatest solar potential in the southern mountains which have significant solar irradiation per square meter, but little has been developed given the price of regional natural gas.

We train past the Central Machu Picchu hydroelectric facility. It diverts water off the Urubamba River, through a mountain, down to massive pipes and past “hydro town” to the power plant. The plant was first built in 1958 with a 60 MW capacity, later increased to 105 MW. Then a landslide in the gorge buried the plant in 1998. It was reopened for operations in 2001. Now plans for its expansion to 192 MW.

Much of Peru’s 6.7 GW of Peru’s capacity is hydroelectric, 48% in 2011 with the 52% balance being fossil. Most generation is renewable with 72% of kWh delivered being hydro in 2006 (27.4 TWh). The largest hydro plant is 900 MW Mantaro Complex is southern Peru. Most thermal plants used for peaking period and seasonal requirements.

Currently a shift to natural gas fired power plants served by the Camisea Gas Field in the Amazon rainforest. A 140 MW gas plant in Tumbas started operating in 2007. The government projects demand growth of 5 – 7% annually with gas expected to be the dominant power generating source by 2030.

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