First unit starts operation at Brazil’s 100-MW Catorze de Julho

Brazil utility CPFL Energia S.A. announced the commercial operation of the first 50-MW unit of the 100-MW Catorze de Julho hydroelectric project on the estuary of the Antas River in Rio Grande do Sul State.

CPFL Energia, a member of project development consortium Companhia Hidreletrica Rio das Antas (Ceran), told Brazil’s stock exchange the unit started up December 25. Other consortium members are utility Companhia Estadual de Energia Eletrica (CEEE) and engineering firm Desenvix.

The generating unit is responsible for 93 percent of the project’s assured power of 46.5 average MW and 50 percent of the installed capacity at 50 MW. The second unit is expected to begin operation in the first quarter of 2009.

CPFL said its participation in Catorze de Julho, through CPFL Geracao de Energia S.A., is 65 percent, which represents installed capacity of 65 MW and assured power of 32.5 average MW.

Rio Grande do Sul’s environmental agency, Fundacao Estadual de Protecao Ambiental (FEPAM), issued an operating license for the project in October. (HNN 10/22/08) Ceran is developing Catorze de Julho as part of the Rio das Antas energy complex with the 130-MW Monte Claro project completed in 2004 and the 130-MW Castro Alves project completed in 2008.

Utility repowers small hydro, sees 70 new small projects

CPFL Energia said it has repowered more than half of its small hydropower projects and has plans to upgrade more. It said several studies are under way to expand the generating capacity of small hydro plants through the installation of additional equipment or the replacement of existing equipment with more powerful units.

CPFL said its repowerings have been accomplished without relevant environmental impacts, and have generated carbon credits to be traded by CPFL, creating a new source of revenue.

CPFL said it recently completed repowering of three more plants. The projects, new capacities, rivers, and capacity increases are:
o 4.8-MW Gaviao Peixoto, Jacare-Guacu River, 700 kW;
o 2.71-MW Chibarro, Chibarro River, 400 kW; and
o 4.2-MW Capao Preto, Conxim, Negros, Itauna, and Quilombos rivers, -1.3 MW.

Although Capao Preto experienced a decrease in installed capacity, the junction of its penstocks was revised to reduce head losses.

The three projects were among six in Sao Paulo State that were registered in 2007 by the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism agency to sell carbon emissions credits from their repowering. (HNN 8/23/07)

CPFL said its next step is to repower three more projects, Tres Saltos in Sao Paulo State and Guapore and Andorinhas in Rio Grande do Sul State.

The utility said it also is analyzing about 70 sites for new small hydropower projects, of which ten are in advanced study of their feasibility. It said four, in southern Brazil, are in more advanced studies, while the other six will require longer periods of study.

CPFL President Wilson Ferreira Jr. last year said the company plans to build four small hydro projects totaling 76 MW over 30 months. (HNN 6/13/08) The four projects are to require an investment of 285 million reais (US$175 million). Ferreira also said CPFL is performing feasibility studies of two unnamed hydroelectric projects in southern Brazil totaling 1,200 MW.

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