Guatemala City, Guatemala — (METERING.COM) — May 11, 2009 – A US$495 million project to expand the electrical transmission system in Guatemala has been named in the “Digital infrastructure/smart grid” sector as one of the top critical infrastructure projects in Latin America.

The project, which is being promoted by Guatemala’s energy regulator, Comisión Nacional de Energía Eléctrica (CNEE), is a 10-year plan to overhaul and expand the country’s transmission network by 2018. In particular the focus is on developing ringed networks, so that if one element is lost, the network can continue operating as normal.

The aims include improving security of supply, reducing transmission losses and meeting increasing demand for power across the country.

The plan involves the expansion and reinforcement of 40 substations and almost 1,400 km of transmission lines, as well as an interconnection with Mexico and the installation of reactive energy compensators for the national interconnected system.

The CNEE estimates that the savings will result in reduced power generation costs, system losses and marginal demand costs will be around $523 million.

A parallel power generation expansion plan seeks to increase the supply of renewable energy to 64 percent of total generation by 2022 through the development of renewable energy generation remote from major load centers.

The project was recognized at the recent annual Latin American Leadership Forum, which reviewed the top 50 projects in ten infrastructure sectors in Latin America. The total project value of these projects exceeds $50 billion, with job creation potential of 2 million jobs per year.