CARACAS, Aug. 14 -- Venezuela has embarked on the renovation of the country's largest hydroelectric plant together with a Chinese firm, a top official said on Thursday.
Electric Energy Minister Jesse Chacon said in a nationally broadcast television and radio interview that the Guri plant in Bolivar state is being modernized with the help of China's Dongfang Electric Corporation.
Investment in the project amounts to more than 1.31 billion U.S. dollars, he said, adding the Chinese firm "won in a good competitive bidding" the rights to the project.
The six units that need renovation, to meet the demand of the national electricity network, are more than 30 years old, said Chacon.
Regular maintenance has extended the life of the units up till now, but renovation is needed to strengthen the infrastructure "with an eye to sustainability," the minister said.
Authorities said they studied different options and determined the most economical and energy-efficient route was to boost the units' installed capacity by about 795 megawatts.
The renovation at Guri "will allow us to improve the operation of the hydroelectric plant, and make better use of the water," said Chacon.