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Cleaning and Rock-Filling Work Completed at Coca Codo Sinclair Plant

Published on May 27, 2024

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The cleaning and rock-filling work at the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant has been completed, and it is now preparing to resume operations. The decision from Cenace, the National Electricity Operator, is awaited to restart the plant, which is the largest contributor of hydroelectric power to Ecuador.

The Electricity Corporation of Ecuador, Celec EP, reported that it completed the cleaning of sediments accumulated in the approach channel and the grates in the water intake of the Coca Codo Sinclair plant. Additionally, the reconfiguration of the rockfill in the discharge area of the turbine waters was completed to protect this area from floods of the Coca River. This work was carried out from May 24th to 26th, in coordination with Cenace.

Although these works necessitated a scheduled total shutdown of the plant, there were no blackouts over the weekend. The Ministry of Energy has confirmed that there will be no outages until June 2nd.

Following the completion of the cleaning and rock-filling work, the filling of the compensating reservoir began, aiming to resume energy production in the afternoon.

Maintenance was planned

Scheduled maintenance was developed to prolong the plant’s infrastructure lifespan. This involved qualified personnel and Celec EP machinery. Sediment removal in the approach channel and cleaning of the grates are carried out three times a year, an activity ongoing since the plant’s inception. Additionally, 2,300 cubic meters of rock were placed at the discharge channel exit for protection.

Sampling conducted by Celec EP personnel identified that the sediment is primarily composed of clayey silt, with a notable presence of silica, a material known for its high hardness. Higher sediment concentrations in the water necessitate stopping or reducing electricity generation until river conditions improve, an action that can last up to twelve hours to protect electromechanical equipment.

The Coca Codo Sinclair plant was stopped for preventive maintenance, with Cenace ensuring compliance with the maintenance schedule. Celec EP used this shutdown to perform additional work on various equipment and powerhouse boards, activities that can only be carried out when the machinery is stopped.

Furthermore, with the support of a consulting company, water quality monitoring was conducted in the Coca River downstream of the catchment and in the plant’s discharge area. This monitoring aims to control the parameters of the liquid during sediment removal activities.

The actions developed by Celec EP aim to enhance the operating conditions of the Coca Codo Sinclair plant, increase its availability and reliability, and ensure a stable supply of electrical energy for Ecuadorians.


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