Brazil to invest $3 billion in power grid upgrades in country’s south

Energy developers have unveiled plans to invest $3 billion over the next five years to bolster electricity supply in Brazil's southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Private firms Tractebel and Bolognesi will contribute more than half of the total outlay by building power plants, while state-run Eletrosul has pledged $1.25 billion in transmission reinforcements, according to Business News Americas.

"These projects will guarantee an increase in supply and reliability for future investments," AGDI president Ivan De Pellegrin said in a government statement.

According to Pellegrin, the projects will increase the state's installed power capacity 23 percent by the end of the decade.

The project catalog is headed by Bolognesi's 1.24 GW Rio Grande thermoelectric plant, from which the firm secured a 25-year supply contract at last month's A-5 auction.

Details of Bolognesi's plans come as Brazilian hydroelectric output continues to dwindle amid the country's worst drought in decades.

According to London-based consultancy Energy Aspects, Brazil will be forced to import 5Mt of LNG this year to fuel back-up thermoelectric plants.

The state's power network will also receive 2,100 km of new transmission lines and eight substations. Expansion works, meanwhile, will be conducted at 13 substations already in operation.

Eletrosul says it has earmarked $1.25 billion for the projects.

In addition, Eletrosul has committed to distribution upgrades alongside local firms SDPI, Seinfra and AGDI, the government said, without revealing the value of investments.

The works are aimed at linking Rio Grande do Sul's power network to the 216 MW Cerro Chato and 583 MW Campos Neutrais wind farms.

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