Brazil utility to repower 32 small hydro projects

Utility Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (Cemig) has begun a program to repower its 32 small hydropower projects totaling 169.4 MW.

Cemig’s operations and maintenance manager for generation, Nelson Benicio Marques Araujo, said the Minas Gerais State utility plans to replace turbines, generators, and other equipment, and to reconstruct some plants as necessary to maximize power, firm energy, and profits. The projects average 50 years of age.

�Also we are making a diagnosis of our large plants, but the scene today signals the repowering of the small ones,� Benicio said September 11, indicating the economics of repowering the small plants was more favorable.

Cemig began a preliminary diagnosis of the small hydros in 2006 to determine their potential for increased capacity. Pre-feasibility studies of the 12 plants considered most profitable are to be completed by the end of the year.

Development of a detailed repowering program for the plants is to commence in the next year, with actual work to begin by the end of 2008. It is expected that work on the initial 12 plants will be completed in five years.

Cemig said it owns more small hydro projects than any other company in Brazil, according to the association of generating companies, Associacao Brasileira de Empresas Geradoras de Energia Eletrica. It said the small hydro plants are important to the electricity system because they have fewer environmental effects, require smaller inundated areas, generate power in isolated regions, and provide voltage support to the transmission system.

Cemig and Duke Energy Paranapanema recently agreed to conduct feasibility studies of four hydroelectric projects totaling 520 MW on the Doce River in Minas Gerais. (HNN 9/7/07) Earlier this year, Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry granted Cemig 20-year extensions of its concessions for nine hydroelectric projects totaling 1,735.6 MW. (HNN 6/19/07)

For information, contact Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais, Avda. Barbacena No. 1200, Santo Agostinho, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil 30190-131; (55) 31-35063711; Fax: (55) 31-35063933; E-mail: ri@cemig.com.br; Internet: www.cemig.com.br.

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