Venezuela eyes new power sources

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CARACAS. January 8. KAZINFORM The severe energy crisis Venezuela was experiencing in 2010 caused by a rare drought the previous year has prompted the country to seek new power sources, the power energy minister says; Kazinform refers to Xinhua.

Venezuela is the world's third largest hydroelectric energy generator for local consumption, only after Norway and Brazil, but the drought in 2009 led to a severe energy crisis in the country beginning early 2010, according to Electric Energy Minister Ali Rodriguez Araque.

The driest summer in 50 years forced water levels at the Guri dam, one of the largest in the world, to run dangerously low, Rodriguez told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"So this proved that it was necessary to build other power sources such as the thermal and others," he said.

During the energy crisis in 2010, Venezuela generated some 5,200 megawatts of power in different thermal plants with a dual system of gas and diesel through a 4-billion-U.S.-dollar National Electric Fund.

Rodriguez, also former general secretary of the Organization of Petroleum Exporter Countries (OPEC), said Venezuela "has a really big thermal electrical potential, thanks to its large oil and gas reserves."

He estimated that a total of 18,700 megawatts could be installed in the medium and longer term, through a combination of thermal, hydraulic, wind,nuclear-electrical and minor resources such as biomass and urban waste; Kazinform cites Xinhua.

See www.xinhuanet.com/english2010 for full version

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