Larrynaga hydro plant 95% complete

Larrynaga, another hydro plant in Jinotetega is expected to bring the percentage of renewable energy in Nicaragua up to 53-55%. A Fox Latino article tells the story.

The Larreynaga plant in the northern province of Jinotega will start generating electricity "in some four or five months," Emilio Rappaccioli said in a written statement after touring the plant with the CEO of state utility ENEL, Ernesto Martinez Tiffer.

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High percentage of renewables

It's very impressive and somehow I've never realized how much of Nicaragua's electricity is renewable (well, sun-powered, anyway). Part of Ortega's legacy or..?

Is that part of what causes the frequent outages in [insert city here]? I always heard it was because of Union Fenosa.

For comparison, BTW, I did a little math and estimated that the country uses about 500-600MW of electricity. There's a single power plant in Queens, NY that could meet nearly all of Nicaragua's current power needs. http://nypa.gov/facilities/ccp/default.htm

Nothing here is as bad as Dominion Power in Annandale

Jinotega may be getting good power because it's about three miles from the hydro plants, but I don't find it worse than US power on average. Rural power was worse, DC area power was not as good as Philadelphia's power where in 12 years, I remember one outage (car struck a power pole near my house). I understand that it might be worse in other parts of Nicaragua.

Rebecca Brown

Renewables, reliability, ...

It's interesting you ask about Ortega's legacy as when the move to increase renewables started, many people (I believe you can find posts here on NicaLiving) said it would not happen because it would be anti-Chavez. The reality is that electricity was very unreliable under Bolaños (and probably before but I didn't live in Nicaragua then) because there was really nothing invested in generation and distribution during the neo-liberal administrations. The only way Ortega could increase reliability during a critical time was replace ancient diesel-powered generators with new ones.

After the critical needs were addressed, renewable has been expanded. That includes hydro, wind and geothermal. Developing this capacity takes a lot of lead time.

Most outages are a function of grid failure (and scheduled work on the grid) these days rather than a generating capacity issue. Unlike much of the grid in the US, there is virtually no redundancy in the grid in Nicaragua. That means a wind storm can mean a power interruption. In addition, parts of the distribution grid are taken down for maintenance. A common event in Estelí is a Sunday with no electricity (scheduled in advance) for maintenance on the high-tension lines that run north from Managua.

As for total power consumption and a comparison to the US, you are correct. US consumption accounts for something like 25% of total world energy consumption. Nicaragua pretty much doesn't even register.

The real story

Is that we may have found another Tiffer!

i lived in hondurus..

in the mid nineties..there was a big drought back then..and all there hydro stuff was down...we had big time outages back then...so u still need a back up system..and that is oil..so u need 2 plants and not 1..same with solar and wind..

A lot has happened since then

That was before the SIEPAC lines connected all the electrical grids in Central America. I'm thinking they were only switched on all the way through last summer. Then they added Mexico and there are plans to connect Columbia.

So before then, every country was on its own. Now there is a regional market to sell electricity and they're all raising their generation capacity. When they have excess, they can sell it to each other.

I noticed on the iadb.org website that there is yet another loan for the electrical sector in Nicaragua so more repairs to transmission lines, switching stations, most likely more towards geothermal and hydro, and more power going into rural areas. I think I read that 20,000 households per year have been getting power in Nicaragua.

I hope you're seeing some change.