A new $62 million hydroelectric plant with a generating capacity of 17.3 MW will begin operating in mid-2014 in Nicaragua, the energy and mines minister said Friday.

The Larreynaga plant in the northern province of Jinotega will start generating electricity "in some four or five months," Emilio Rappaccioli said in a written statement after touring the plant with the CEO of state utility ENEL, Ernesto Martinez Tiffer.

Once the plant is operating, between 53 percent and 55 percent of the nation's electricity will come from renewable sources this year, up from 51 percent in 2013, the minister estimated.

Located 161 kilometers (100 miles) north of Managua, Larreynaga is being financed by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and the Spanish government and will be operated by ENEL.

The project is 95 percent completed, Martinez Tiffer said.

"The Larreynaga project will mean substantial fuel savings for the country. We're going to generate some 70 or 80 gigawatt-hours a year, or more or less 3 percent of the total output (fed into) the national grid," the ENEL chief said.

He estimated that that would represent some $15 million in annual savings from reduced fuel imports. EFE