Eletrobras units, Spanish firm win Brazil’s Madeira grid links

Consortia including units of Brazil’s national utility, Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras S/A (Eletrobras), and the Spanish utility Cymi Holding won concession auctions November 26 to build and operate transmission lines linking a 6,450-MW Madeira River hydroelectric complex in the Amazon to the national grid.

Electricity regulator Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica (ANEEL) conducted the auction over two hours on the Rio de Janeiro Stock Exchange. (HNN 10/27/08)

The lines are to run 2,500 kilometers to deliver power from the 3,150-MW Santo Antonio (HNN 9/17/08) and 3,300-MW Jirau hydroelectric projects (HNN 11/25/08) in Rondonia State to Araraquara in Sao Paulo State. Investment is expected to total 5 billion to 7 billion reais (US$2.9 billion to US$4 billion).

Winning prices for the 30-year concession contracts averaged 7.15 percent below the asking price. Despite a rather small discount below the asking price, ANEEL Director General Jerson Kelman said the result reflected a lower level of competition than some previous industry auctions.

President Luciano Coutinho of national development bank Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES) said the auction result reflected the solid foundation of the Brazilian economy despite international economic crisis. BNDES has pledged financial support to the project.

Consorcio Integracao Norte Brasil, including Eletrobras subsidiaries Centrais Eletricas do Norte do Brasil (Eletronorte) and Eletrosul Centrais Eletricas S/A, Spanish power group Abengoa, and engineering firm Andrade Gutierrez, won contracts to build the 2,375-kilometer 600-kilovolt Porto Velho-Araraquara 2 No. 2 transmission line, the 17.3-kilometer 230-kV Coletora Porto Velho-Porto Velho line, the 500/230-kV Coletora Porto Velho substation, and two converter stations.

Consorcio Madeira Transmissao, including Eletrobras subsidiaries Furnas Centrais Eletricas S.A. and Companhia Hidro Eletrica do Sao Francisco (CHESF), and transmission company CTEEP, won contracts to build the 2,375-kilometer 600-kilovolt Porto Velho-Araraquara 2 No. 1 transmission line and two converter stations.

Cymi Holding won contracts to build the 360-kilometer 500-kV Cuiaba-Ribeiraozinho transmission line, the 242-kilometer Ribeiraozinho-Rio Verde Norte line, the 15-kilometer 500-kV Araraquara 2-Araraquara de Furnas line, the 15-kilometer Araraquara 2-Araraquara CTEEP line, and the 500/440-kV Araraquara 2 substation.

In the first phase of the auction, a choice of technology, direct current lines were chosen over a hybrid system of direct current and alternating current.

With the direct current option, one line would be constructed between the hydroelectric generators in the upper Amazon and consumers in Sao Paulo. The line would not link future energy generators or other consumer markets on the way. If the alternating current model had been chosen, it would have included two roughly parallel lines, one of which would link several communities along the way and one that would have the potential to link up future electric power generators.

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