The government of Argentina has opened the tendering process to build two hydroelectric power facilities in the Southern province of Santa Cruz.

The plants, Presidente Nestor Kirchner and Gobernador Jorge Cepernic, represent an investment of over $4.8bn, reports Clarin, a local daily newspaper.

Five consortia, comprising companies from Argentina and Brazil, as well as outside of Latin America, such as Spain, Russia and China, have expressed interest in participating in the public tender.

The hydropower complex will have a combined installed capacity of 1700 MW, and once built will be the third largest in the country behind Yacyreta hydroelectric dam (3200 MW), which is shared with Paraguay, and the Salto Grande (1890 MW) hydroelectric dam, which is shared with Uruguay.

According to Julio De Vido, Argentina’s planning minister, construction, which is estimated to begin in the second half of 2013, will take four and half years.

Once built the hydro complex will generate 10 per cent of the country’s average electricity consumption and allow annual savings of $1bn in energy imports, he confirmed.

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