Central Hidroeléctrica Simón Bolívar
Guri Dam with its official name Central Hidroeléctrica Simón Bolívar and formerly called Central Hidroeléctrica Raúl Leoni, is located in the state Bolívar on the southeastern region of Venezuela, also known as Venezuelan Guayana, which is the largest state of Venezuela regarding its surface.
It represents a little more than a quarter of the country’s surface.
Streaming on the north border of state Bolívar the Orinoco River which meet in its way the capital Ciudad Bolívar, Puerto Ordaz/Ciudad Guayana then stream across the state Delta Amacuro and discharge into the Atlantic Ocean.
There are some beautiful places in the region, like Canaima, La Gran Sabana and different waterfalls including the worlds largest which is the Angel Falls (El Salto Angel) and numerous other nice sites. Caroní River, Guri Lake and Paragua River are fishing waters for payara and peacock bass.
The Central Hidroeléctrica Simón Bolívar is constructed in the Necuima Canyon on the river Caroní which is a tributary of the Orinoco river and flow into it at Puerto Ordaz.
Its construction took place in two phases and began in 1963. The first phase consisted of the installation of 10 units with a total capacity of 2,935 MW which ended in 1978.
The dam reached a height of 215 meters.
The second phase include 10 more units with a combined capacity of 7,300 MW. The dam was also elevated to 272 meters. The construction ended in 1987. The total capacity was 10,235 MW by 2009. It has a length of 7,426 meters. It accounts for 70 percent of the total power needs of Venezuela and its 28 million people.
Like any other large Hydroelectric Dam there are some ecological downsides with the Guri Dam too. The dam’s lake made large destruction to the surrounding forests and to some rare animal and plant species and also affecting the Pemón people who live in these forests.
It is worthwhile mention here that there are two more smaller Hydroelectric Dams in the Caroní River. The Caruachi Dam and the Macagua Dam.
The Caruachi Dam is situated at a distance of 59 km downstream from the Guri Dam and 35 km from the mouth of the Caroní River at Ciudad Guayana and counts 12 units each 190 MW with a hydroelectrical capacity of 2,280 MW. This project was inaugurated the 31th of March 2006.
The Macagua Dam its official name Antonio José de Sucre, is situated at 10 km upstream from the mouth of the Caroní River is the only Hydroelectric Dam in the world build in the middle of a city. The city Puerto Ordaz/Ciudad Guayana.
The Macagua Dam is 69 meter high and has a length of 3,537 meter. It consists of three power station sections. Macagua I, operational in 1961 with installed capacity of 384 MW. Macagua II with capacity of 2,592 MW and Macagua III with 176 MW both operational in 1996. This add to a total of 3,152 MW capacity for the Macagua Dam.
The Central Hidroeléctrica Simón Bolívar, the Caruachi Dam and the Macagua Dam are run by EDELCA (CVG Electrificacion del Caroní CA).