The El Quimbo hydroelectric plant is located in the Department of Huila, south of Colombia, between the central and eastern mountain ranges 70 km south of Neiva. It is located upstream of the Betania reservoir, also part of Enel Colombia, and its area of influence includes the municipalities of Altamira, El Agrado, Garzón, Gigante, Paicol and Tesalia.
This plant has an approximate power generation capacity of 400 MW (2,216 GWh/year) produced by two vertical-axis Francis turbines, located in a machine house built in the open at 230 meters from the foot of the dam.
The reservoir has a maximum height of 720 meters above sea level and covers an area of 8,250 hectares with an operating volume of 2,354 hm3.
The main works of the El Quimbo Hydroelectric Plant have been 100% completed and since the end of 2015 are fully operational.
It is the main containment structure to dam the water. It includes a barrier of 151 meters high and 645 meters long in a pyramidal shape, which allows the water of the Magdalena River to be dammed, which is used in the generation of electrical energy.
It is 66 meters high and 445 meters long on the right bank of the Magdalena River. It helps to contain the reservoir and has a total volume of approximately 3.5 million cubic meters of compacted material.
It is a structure of open channels with 4 radial gates of 14 meters wide by 16 meters high, which allows controlling the level of the reservoir through the controlled passage of water, in case of floods of the Magdalena River or if the reservoir reaches its maximum capacity .
Their main function is to drive the water from the reservoir to the generation units. They are 400 meters long and have an excavation diameter of up to 10 meters. Their intakes are elbow shaped and have cube-shaped drain gates. For the closing of each one, there is a gate operated in a vertical well.
It is the structure where the necessary equipment is located to convert the potential energy into electrical energy. El Quimbo Hydroelectric Plant has a conventional surface machine house that houses two vertical axis Francis turbines with a nominal power of 186.3 MW each, for a total of 400 MW with its respective generator.
It is a 437-meter long tunnel and a 2,70 meter working diameter section, which provides the ecological flow required in the Environmental License, necessary to ensure that the Magdalena River channel between the dam and the confluence of the Paez river is maintained.