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Reinvestigation into report on China-built mega-projects

27 Feb 2023

Adriana Carranza, a resident in the San Luis village in northern Ecuador, has fond memories of her days working with a Chinese company at the Coca Codo Sinclair (CCS) hydroelectric project from 2012 to 2015.

"Thanks to the work I had done for (a subcontractor of) the Sinohydro Corporation, I was able to save money," the former cook at the company told Xinhua. The job was well paid with good working conditions.

Carranza is among the thousands of Ecuadorians who have worked at the Chinese-constructed project, some 150 km east of the capital Quito. As the country's biggest hydropower project, the 1 500-megawatt CCS has been running smoothly for over six years, generating around 42 billion kWh of clean and renewable hydroelectricity, becoming the largest power source for Ecuador.

With infrastructure construction a key priority, 81 Chinese central state-owned enterprises have been involved in over 3 400 projects in countries along the Belt and Road by January 2021. The cumulative amount of China's direct investment in these nations reached US$161.3 billion from 2013 to 2021.

A World Bank report estimated that when fully implemented, the BRI could help nearly 40 million people in relevant countries leave poverty behind.

 Carranza told Xinhua she was well paid for working extra hours. During her pregnancy, her boss and colleagues treated her "as if I was their daughter."

"We usually want to work (extra hours)" and "I'm satisfied with my salary," said Graciela Quirina, who also worked in a Sinohydro kitchen.

"How can a plant that is of no use to us have come to produce almost 42 000 gigawatt hours of energy? I'm sure these people don't even understand what 42 000 gigawatt hours of energy means," the former minister said.

Regarding the cracks, Sinohydro and the Ecuadorian State Electricity Company hired the German testing agency TUV SUD in 2018 as an international independent third party, which concluded in its risk assessment report that these cracks will not affect the operation and safety of the plant for its design life of 50 years. As to the suitability of the steel, the TUV SUD report indicated that the base materials are within the values required by the specifications.

Ecuadorian government-commissioned research conducted by Swiss consulting company Lombardi concluded that the disappearance of the waterfall was a natural phenomenon and had nothing to do with the construction of the CCS, a view shared by many geologists, local media reports said.

Ecuador has never lodged the issue with Sinohydro, which was tasked with the construction, according to the Chinese company.

Calahorrano said that the CCS plant has managed for the first time in the country's history, together with other hydropower plants, to raise hydroelectricity in the electrical matrix to more than 93 per cent, reducing the use of fossil fuels, saving the country about US$1.3 billion a year from fossil fuel imports and cutting carbon dioxide by about 18 million tonnes a year.


Source : Xinhua

Author : Xinhua


Event : Interviews

Date : 27 Feb 2023