The Coca River in Ecuador runs through the remote jungles of the western Amazon basin. A large and majestic waterway, the river has long drawn interest from engineers for its energy generation potential. In 2007, this potential began to be realized when the country’s government made construction of a hydroelectric facility on the river the centerpiece of its energy policy.
Supply up to 44 percent of the country’s energy needs
The Coca Codo Sinclair Project, as it is known, is the largest hydroelectric project in Ecuador’s history and one of the largest ever in Latin America. When completed in 2015, it is expected to supply 44 percent of the country’s energy needs. This will go a long way towards meeting the government’s policy goals, which include replacing thermoelectric energy from fossil fuels with renewable energy and becoming energy self-sufficient.
Building Coca Codo requires large amounts of concrete. Among other things, project plans call for a concrete dam and water intake facility on the river, as well as an almost 25 kilometer long concrete lined tunnel to transport the water to the power station. Considering these volumes, LafargeHolcim Ecuador knew from the outset that the project had great potential. But it also knew it would face stiff competition on the bid.