Alstom contracts 1,000MW in O&M

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, June 08, 2004
The Brazilian unit of French engineering firm Alstom has signed operations and maintenance (O&M) contracts for hydroelectric projects and plants totaling 1,000MW in Brazil, and expects to add 150MW a year in new contracts over the next few years, the commercial manager of Alstom's systems section, Rubens Brandt, told BNamericas. "When the country started privatizing the power system, we saw the opportunity to offer services to companies which were investing in something that was not their core business," he said. "Instead of building and keeping a whole team of specialists, they could contract this service, reducing their risk." The potential market is made up of the private sector power generators which invested to supply industrial operations in large or small-scale projects which were booming in the late 1990s during privatization, and the creation of a market for independent power producers and self-suppliers. The construction of small-scale hydroelectric plants (known as PCHs) with up to 30MW capacity also increases the market potential for this kind of service, Brandt said. The 1,100MW allowance for PCHs under the federal government's alternative power program Proinfa only increases this potential. Alstom announced its latest contract Monday (June 7), a four-year O&M contract for the 160MW Pedra do Cavalo hydro project on the Paraguaçu river in the northeastern state of Bahia, which Votorantim Energia, the power arm of Brazilian of the Votorantim cement maker, is building. Operations are scheduled to start in October. Other Alstom contracts involve the 690MW Barra Grande project, being built by a joint venture of aluminum maker Alcoa and Brazilian power company CPFL Energia, 50MW of small-scale plants by Brazilian group Brennand and the 60MW Santa Clara and the 120MW Quebra Queixo dams, controlled by Brazilian group Queiroz Galvão.

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