Tractebel opens Brazil's 243.2-MW Sao Salvador hydro

Tractebel Energia formally commissioned the 243.2-MW Sao Salvador hydroelectric project February 5 on the Tocantins River in Brazil's Tocantins State.

Tractebel Energia, a unit of France-based utility group GDF Suez, reported completion of project construction in December. (HNN 12/4/08) In November, Brazil's environmental regulator issued an operational license to Tractebel Energia, allowing start-up of the project.

Tractebel said investment in the project totaled 850 million reais (US$374 million). Completed in a record 32 months, Sao Salvador committed to sell 148 average MW of energy, valued at 2 billion euros (US$2.5 billion), in a 2006 power auction.

Sao Salvador was the first hydroelectric project to be financed under Brazil's new Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), receiving 570.2 million reais (US$277 million) in financing from Brazil's development bank, Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social.

Sao Salvador's new operating license includes operation of a 230-kilovolt transmission line, extending 75.3 kilometers to link substations at Sao Salvador in Tocantins and Cana Brava in Goais State.

Mauricio Bahr, chairman of the boards of GDF Suez and Tractebel Energia, said Sao Salvador's completion consolidates the group's position as the principal private sector electricity generator in Brazil and underscores the group's interest in investing to expand Brazilian electricity supply.

Bahr said before the end of 2012, Tractebel Energia would begin commercial operation of the 1,087-MW Estreito (HNN 6/25/08) and 3,300-MW Jirau hydroelectric projects. (HNN 1/29/09)

In 2002, Tractebel Energia awarded a US$162 million contract to Odebrecht of Brazil to build Sao Salvador with Andrade Gutierrez. Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation was commissioned to supply turbines and related equipment. Tractebel had won a concession to build the project and operate it for 35 years in a 2001 auction by Brazil's Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica.

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