Bingham Engineering of Salt Lake City has been awarded a $108 million contract by the Central American country of Belize to build two hydroelectric power plants.

Construction will be at the Macall River Project in the Maya Mountains. Bingham will install two plants with three generation units in each.The contract was announced by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who said he had been working with the Belize government to ensure Utah companies are treated fairly there.

In fact, Hatch said, two Utah companies - Bingham and Becho Engineering of Salt Lake City - were among the three finalists for the contract, along with a British firm.

"Utah firms are competitive worldwide, and this proves it since two companies from the state were in competition for the contract," Hatch said. "This is a very big award for any Utah company."

Hatch's office said Belize will provide $15 million up front for the project, and Bingham is responsible for developing financing for the other $93 million through such sources as bank loans - which will be paid back over time by Belize and through power revenues.