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Brazil: IDB to provide loan for hydro project modernization

The Inter-American Development Bank will provide a loan of US$128 million to Brazilian energy utility Furnas Centrais Eletricas S.A. to partly finance the rehabilitation and modernization of two large hydropower complexes in one of the largest energy-efficiency investments ever undertaken in Brazil.

The company will renovate the Furnas and Luiz Carlos Barreto de Carvalho hydro plants to increase power production, lower maintenance costs and double their service life. The plants have been in operation since the 1960s and were developed to produce a combined 2,266 MW of electricity.

Brazilian energy utility Furnas opted to embark on a program to restore the turbines, generators and mechanical equipment and to refurbish the control, supervision and protection systems at the plants, along with related equipment. The program is valued at US$600 million.

Once these improvements are completed, the plants can be able to continue operating beyond 2040.

In other news, Renovarum - a Chilean project created to invest in small hydropower plants - has applied for US$4.3 million in financing from the Inter-American Development Bank's Multilateral Investment Fund, wire services reported.

The financing request is comprised of US$4 million equity from the MIF small enterprise investment fund and US$300,000 non-reimbursable financing from the small enterprise development facility, Business News Americas reported.

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