Brazil’s Energisa resumes hydro development with three small plants

Brazil utility holding company Energisa S.A. announced it will resume hydropower construction with an investment in three small hydro projects in Rio de Janeiro State.

Energisa said it will invest 200 million reais (US$92.9 million) in the simultaneous construction of the Caju, Santo Antonio, and Sao Sebastiao hydro projects totaling 31.2 MW. They are to have annual generation totaling 157.4 gigawatt-hours.

�Resuming an activity which on previous occasions has proven to be highly successful in terms of adding value for shareholders, on Friday, October 24, Energisa Group implemented contracts involving the simultaneous construction,� Energisa said.

Construction is to begin in December with completion in the first half of 2010, the company said. It said major synergies would result from implementing the projects on the same river.

Energisa said the venture has qualified for funding from Brazil’s national development bank, Banco Nacional Desenvolvimento Economico e Social. It expects to have obtained funding for 75 percent of the total investment by the end of 2008, to be repaid over 14 years.

Energisa is the holding company of the Cataguazes-Leopoldina Group, founded in 1905. Brazil’s new Electricity Sector Law required utilities to separate their generation functions from their transmission and distribution functions. As a result Cataguazes’ Energisa S.A. unit was transformed into a holding company controlling its distribution utilities, its thermal and hydro generating companies, and Cat-Leo Construcoes, the group’s hydro operation, maintenance, construction, and equipment company.

In January, Energisa closed the sale of 11 small hydroelectric projects totaling 45.37 MW and four proposed projects to hydropower operator Brascan Energetica S.A. (HNN 1/8/08)

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