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Rio Grande Hydropower

Engineering for hydropower plant with earthfill dams


Rio Grande Hydropower

The Rio Grande hydroelectric complex consists of two earthfill dams, of 104 and 50 m height respectively, which create two reservoirs.

From each of them start a penstock that arrives in the underground power house, ending with a bifurcation to feed 2 Francis units, for a total installed power capacity of 750 MW.

Downstream the power house, a vertical shaft for cables connects the energy generators with the external transformers yard. The first stretch of the tailrace tunnel, which in total is more than 5 km long, gathers the water in an oscillation chamber, equipped with a 62 m tall surge shaft.



Panedile Argentina S.A.I.C.F. e I., Società Italiana per Condotte d'Acqua S.p.A. - Rome


1973 – 1985


Main Features

  • IP = 750 MW, max gross head = 204 m, Qtot = 500 m³/s, Qp = 312 m³/s
  • Main dam: zoned earth fill with impervious central core (H = 104 m, Crest L = 410 m, V = 3.6 Mm³)
  • Saddle dam – zoned earth fill with impervious core (H = 50 m, Crest L = 1’475 m, V = 1.6 Mm³)
  • Underground power house (L = 105 m, Width 25 m, H = 47 m, N° 4 Francis turbine/pump reversible units – 187.5 MW each)
  • Surge shaft (H = 62 m, A = 1’012 m²)
  • Tailrace tunnel – and headrace for storage pumping (L = 5’315 m, A = 200.60 m²)
  • Access tunnel to underground power station (L = 1’800 m)
  • Spillway (Q = 2’100 m³/s)
  • Intake works and penstocks


Rio Grande Hydropower


General consultancy and supervision of the entire scheme with full technical responsibilities and approval of all the projects, supervision of construction, special studies

Construction design of all works excluding: embankments (Panedile Argentina), hydraulic equipment (Allis Chalmers), electrical equipment (Brown Boveri), mechanical equipment (IMPSA)

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