Brazil utilities to study four hydro projects totaling 520 MW

Hydropower generator Duke Energy Paranapanema and utility Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (Cemig) have signed an agreement to conduct feasibility studies of four hydroelectric projects totaling 520 MW on the Doce River in Brazil’s Minas Gerais State.

Duke Energy Paranapanema, a Brazilian unit of Duke Energy of the United States, said the companies will perform civil, mechanical, and environmental studies, Business News Americas said.

The projects include 238-MW Galileia, 144-MW Resplendor, 57-MW Biboca, and 81-MW Crenaque.

Duke’s director of strategic planning, Mario Silva, said the Doce River’s hydrological studies were outdated.

�We will basically study the Doce River and its tributaries for eventual hydroelectric plants,� he said. �After we conclude these, we will perform pre-feasibility studies.�

Silva said that work would require six months, followed by another 18 months of feasibility studies. If the feasibility studies are successful, Duke and Cemig would be able to sell the projects’ anticipated power in late 2009 or early 2010. Then, he said, it would take four years to build the plants.

Silva said Duke would study the potential of other Brazilian rivers with a different partner.

�This agreement with Cemig means the start of a new investment phase for Duke Energy in Brazil,� he said. �The company started to invest in the country, but Brazil had some setbacks such as the power rationing in 2001 and macroeconomic problems.�

Duke Energy increased its stake in Brazil’s Geradora Paranapanema to 95 percent in 2000. The unit has 2,237 MW of installed capacity in eight hydroelectric plants on the Paranapanema River.

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