Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Hydropower Country Notes
The Venezuelan WEC Member Committee reports a gross theoretical capability of 320 TWh/yr, of which 130 TWh/yr is considered as economically exploitable. Hydro-electric output in 2005 was 77.2 TWh, about 4% below the level reported for probable annual generation. Hydro output in an average year would be 80.6 TWh, indicating that not far short of two-thirds of the realistic potential has already been harnessed. About 74% of the republic's electricity requirements are met from hydropower.
A large increase in hydro-electric capacity occurred during the 1980s, the major new plant being Guri (Raúl Leoni), on the river Caroní in eastern Venezuela - its capacity of 10 000 MW makes it one of the world's largest hydro stations.
At the end of 2005, total hydro-electric generating capacity is reported to have been approximately 14.4 GW; 2.25 GW was under construction and a further 3 GW of hydro capacity was planned for future development.
The 2 160 MW Caruachi project, sited 59 km downstream from Guri, was scheduled for phased entry into operation between 2003 and 2006. The last major hydro project planned for the lower river Caroní is Tocoma (2 160 MW), scheduled for completion by 2014. Eventually, the total installed capacity on the lower Caroní (comprising, in order of flow, Guri, Tocoma, Caroní and Macagua (2 930 MW)) will exceed 17 000 MW.
The installed capacity of small-scale HPPs is quite modest: a mere 1.59 MW at end-2005, producing just under 7 GWh in a 'normal' year and an actual 3.4 GWh in 2005. There are orders or plans for an additional 5.1 MW in this category.