CAF Funds Evaluation of Small and Mini-Hydropower Potential in São Paulo State, Brazil
15 May 2012: The Latin American Development Bank (CAF) signed an agreement with the Brazilian state of São Paulo for a CAF grant to fund an evaluation of the potential for small and mini hydroelectric power plants in the state.
The agreement was signed on 7 May 2012 by Governor Geraldo Alckmin and CAF Director Representative in Brazil, Moira Paz Estenssoro, at the inauguration of construction of a small hydroelectric plant (known in Brazil by the Portuguese acronym PCH) on the Tietê River near the city of Pirapora do Bom Jesus.
Paz Estenssoro said the study will look at the complete picture of hydropower potential in São Paulo state, including: total potential; how much is currently exploited; what remains unexploited and usable; and at which unexploited spots it would be feasible to build either small or mini hydropower plants with public and/or private funds. Some 70% of São Paulo's current electricity generation already comes from hydropower, but most of it through large and medium-sized dams. As a state of many rivers and plateaus, state officials suspect São Paulo has significant potential to create small plants to attend to local power needs with low transmission costs and lower environmental impacts than that of larger hydropower plants.
In Brazil, PCHs are defined by law as those with capacity greater than 1 megawatt (MW) and less than 30 MW, while "mini" plants are those under 1 MW. [CAF Press Release (Spanish)] [Speech of Governor Alckmin at Pirapora do Bom Jesus (Portuguese)]