Brazil utility group to invest in seven hydro projects

Brazilian utility holding company Neoenergia says its plans to invest 1.04 billion reais (US$489 million) in seven hydroelectric projects totaling 576.1 MW.

Neoenergia, a Brazilian unit of Spanish utility Iberdrola, controls Brazilian distribution utilities Celpe, Coelba, and Cosern, plus generating assets.

The company said it and its units invested 1.2 billion reais (US$564.7 million) in 2006, 45 percent more than their 2005 investment total.

The group holds development concessions for seven hydro projects that require investments totaling 1.83 billion reais (US$861 million), of which Neoenergia’s share is 1.04 billion reais (US$489 million).

The projects include: 261-MW Dardanelos on the Aripuana River in Mato Grosso State (HNN 10/12/06); 140-MW Baguari on the Doce River in Minas Gerais State (HNN 8/24/06); and 93.6-MW Corumba 3 on the Corumba River in Goais State. The other four projects are considered small hydro projects: 27-MW Goiandira, 21-MW Nova Aurora, 16.5-MW Pirapitinga, and 17-MW Pedra do Garrafao.

Neoenergia said it earned net profits of 995 million reais (US$468 million) in 2006, a 21 percent increase over the previous year.

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