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South Loop 230 kV Transmission Project Siting Study - Costa Rica

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Client: Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE)
Location: Costa Rica

POWER conducted siting and environmental studies to support the selection of a transmission line route of 12 miles for a 230 kV transmission line near San Jose, Costa Rica. ICE, the national utility, had experienced problems getting project approved through its environmental review process and had not been able to withstand judicial scrutiny during legal challenges and condemnation cases. To overcome this, the utility hired POWER’s environmental and engineering groups to work in partnership with their counterparts at ICE to develop an environmental planning process that incorporates community and public involvement in the route identification and selection processes.

This was the first project in Costa Rica to use public involvement as part of the transmission line siting process. It was a radical but very successful departure for ICE, and the utility has adopted the process for all its transmission line projects. Issues for the South Loop Project included the habitats of primary and secondary forests, siting in densely populated communities, scenic vistas, and mitigating construction impacts. POWER and ICE jointly developed the environmental assessment document and submitted it to the national environmental office for review and approval.