French utility buys Brazil’s 176-MW Ponte de Pedra

Suez Energy International, owner of Brazilian generator Tractebel Energia, has agreed to buy the 176-MW Ponte de Pedra hydroelectric project on the Correntes River between Brazil’s Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul states.

The French utility group said December 13 it is buying the project for 228.6 million euros (US$335.8 million) from 50-50 owners Impregilo of Italy and Skanska of Sweden. The agreement must be approved by Brazilian authorities, which Suez said is expected by February 2008.

Ponte de Pedra has been in operation since 2005, selling its total output to Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (Cemig), a Brazilian state distribution company, until 2025 under a 20-year power purchase agreement. (HNN 12/19/06) The project was implemented, under a 35-year government concession, jointly by Impregilo and Skanska Latin America. The Skanska unit also has been responsible for operation and maintenance.

Suez eyes 3,300-MW Jirau, hydro generator CESP

A Suez spokesman also confirmed Brazilian press reports that Suez plans to bid for the 3,300-MW Jirau hydroelectric project planned for the Madeira River in the Amazon and for a stake in Sao Paulo State utility Companhia Energetica de Sao Paulo (CESP).

Jirau, whose concession is to be auctioned in 2008, is sister project to 3,150-MW Santo Antonio, which was won in bidding December 10 by a consortium led by government utility Furnas Centrais Eletricas S/A. (HNN 12/10/07) Sao Paulo State said in 2005 that it planned to sell control of CESP, the state’s biggest generator with 7,455 MW from hydroelectric projects.

“We have already said we have great ambitions to increase our electricity production capacity in Brazil,” the Suez spokesman said. “… So in this context, yes, we are interested in these bidding processes. We will look into them and we should bid for these projects.”

Suez, which currently generates about 7 to 8 percent of Brazil’s 100,000 MW via Tractebel Energia, intends to remain the South American country’s leading private power producer, the spokesman said.

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