Mendoza received US$686 million from the Nation for a hydroelectric mega project that does not exist

Mendoza received US$686 million from the Nation for a hydroelectric mega project that does not exist

So far Mendoza has bagged and immobilized more than US$686 million that the Nation sent to build a hydroelectric dam that was never built, while in the south of the province the northern language of Vaca Muerta awaits new investments to develop and grow. .

The story of the Portezuelo del Viento dam is not new and has disappointed the people of Mendoza. The novelty is that the Nation took another inexplicable step in the financing of a work that it did not endorse environmentally and sent US$113 million to Mendoza last April for the construction of the ghost dam. In fact, last January he had already transferred just over US$94 million and he plans to transfer US$129 million in July and US$111 million next October. In the course of 2023, the Nation will have sent Mendoza more than US$1,000 million for a work that has been stopped for two years and that did not move a single cubic meter of concrete.

The blunder occurred after a decision by President Alberto Fernández, who issued the arbitration award requested by Mendoza, in the context of a controversy that arose within the Interjurisdictional Committee of the Colorado River (Coirco). Within this framework, Fernández ratified the need to carry out a new Regional and Comprehensive Environmental Impact Study on the entire Colorado River basin, as a condition for approving the construction of Portezuelo del Viento, in accordance with the provisions of the previous arbitration award, issued on January 16, 2018 by former President Mauricio Macri.

The Portezuelo del Viento project requires an investment of US$1,023 million financed by the national government, as part of an out-of-court settlement with Mendoza sealed in 2006, between Néstor Kirchner and Julio Cobos. But the work is harshly questioned by La Pampa, with the support of the rest of the Coirco partners (Buenos Aires, Neuquén and Río Negro), due to the harsh affectation that -they warn- it will generate on the water basin. That is why they filed the claim.

Strictly speaking, the request of the Coirco that Alberto Fernández supported is that new environmental impact studies be carried out, rejecting those already published by the universities of La Plata and the Litoral. But, as reported by Ámbito last January, although the head of state instructed the Ministry of the Environment and the Secretariat of Infrastructure and Water Policy of the Ministry of Public Works to collaborate with the elaboration of the technical-administrative procedures, in Mendoza they believe that due to the costs and times, in practice it is the end of the work.

From then on, Suárez publicly admitted that he would seek to redirect the US$1,023 million promised by the Nation through debt cancellation bonds to other projects, in accordance with the contract signed between Mauricio Macri and former Governor Alfredo Cornejo. So far, the province has received US$686.6 million. However, the so-called “work of the century” has not yet been definitively dropped and Suárez is still thinking about what to do with the funds.

Official sources clarified to this medium that the funds should only be allocated to electricity or energy generation works, and that in the event that they want to redirect them to other purposes, the Mendoza government must obligatorily obtain express authorization from Casa Rosada.

Mendoza already explained in the Coirco measurement hearings that, if Portezuelo suffered a setback, it would be convenient for them to give him permission to advance with these funds in “the construction of power generation works, as well as those that allow expanding the productive capacity, optimizing the use of water or other works that pursue the same purpose”. For now, Suárez enchants them in bank accounts and seeks returns in the best “financial scam” style.

As this procedure is not carried out, time passes and inefficiency flourishes. For example, the northern tongue of Vaca Muerta, located south of Mendoza, is a destination in full expansion that needs an injection of fresh funds to develop unconventional. What’s more, in the energy sector they are already wondering how many gas or oil wells the province could have explored and exploited during all these months, which not only implied a very high revenue for the district, but also a very strong saving of foreign currency for the Nation or possible reimbursement, by avoiding a greater import of liquid fuels to generate the electrical energy that the country urgently needs, and that Portezuelo does not provide.

Source: Ambito

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