Brazil - Expansion in an active hydropower market

Brazil is the second-largest producer of hydroelectric power in the world, with about 60% (Hydropower & Dam World Atlas 2015) of its electric power supply based on hydropower.

The country’s biggest hydropower potential lies in the Amazon River basin in the north, while Brazil’s population centers and demand for electricity are largely along the southeastern coast. The big challenge is the reliance on mainly one resource for most of the country’s electricity generation, combined with the distant and disparate locations of its population centers.


ANDRITZ HYDRO has been present in Brazil for more than 100 years - the first unit delivered was in São Paulo in 1906. To date ANDRITZ HYDRO has delivered or refurbished about 631 turbine units with a total installed capacity of more than 25,000 MW - some of which still under construction - out of about a 90,000 MW installed total. This record shows the leading role of ANDRITZ HYDRO technology in the Brazilian market - covering the full range of solutions for new hydropower plants, for small hydropower plants, and for modernization projects.

By the beginning of 2015, ANDRITZ HYDRO Brazil increased their already existing majority interest to become 100% owner of ANDRITZ HYDRO Inepar, a joint venture founded in 2008 from the acquisition of the shares of General Electric do Brazil Ltda. with the already consolidated joint venture GE Hydro Inepar do Brazil S.A., now forming ANDRITZ HYDRO S.A.

ANDRITZ HYDRO S.A. will continue manufacturing equipment in the same location, a rented building located inside the IESA plant in Araraquara. A Manufacturing Service Agreement between ANDRITZ HYDRO S.A. and IESA Projetos e Equipamentos S.A. and its new contractual terms, will ensure the use of this facility until the year 2022 and covers the continuity of the provision of services including hydromechanical equipment (i. e. gates, penstocks, stop logs) previously provided exclusively by the Brazilian partner.

ANDRITZ HYDRO S.A. and ANDRITZ HYDRO Brasil Ltda. are both responsible for engineering and manufacturing of equipment for small, medium and large hydropower plants, as well as for the development of automation solutions for both new plants and modernization projects.

In May 2015, ANDRITZ Construções e Montagens Ltda. was founded and is responsible for the fast-growing markets of services, assemblies, and rehabilitation. With headquarters in Santana do Parnaíba, in the state of São Paulo and an administrative office in Barueri, São Paulo, it has also an advanced services office in Araçatuba, São Paulo. This is a strategic location with a significant market concentration since there are 120 hydropower units within a range of 300 km.

Kaplan runner installation at HPP Pimental

Belo Monte Complex

The Belo Monte Complex, under construction in Altamira, state of Pará, will be the largest Brazilian hydropower plant and the fourth largest in the world (China: HPP Three Gorges; China: HPP Xiluodu; Brazil-Paraguay: HPP Itaipu). Among many important projects, due to its size, it is the most impressive project in Brazil.  

The new hydropower plant will hugely contribute to fulfilling the country’s demand for electrical energy, considering the inevitable increase in the estimated consumption for the coming years.

The complex comprises two powerhouses. The major one will be on the Belo Monte site, consisting of 18 Francis turbines, each with an output of 611 MW and a discharge of 768 m3/s. The complementary powerhouse will be built at the Pimental site next to the main dam, consisting of six 38.8 MW Bulb turbines with a net head of 11.4 m and a water discharge of 389 m³/s each.

The scope of supply of ANDRITZ HYDRO for the Belo Monte powerhouse includes four generating units with vertical Francis turbines and generators, one blow-down system for this plant, as well as 18 excitation systems. For the Pimental powerhouse ANDRITZ HYDRO will supply the electro-mechanical equipment consisting of six generating units with Bulb turbines and horizontal generators, electrical power systems, mechanical auxiliaries and automation, protection and control systems equipment, and spillway gates.

The Belo Monte Complex will be the only one built on the Xingu River. The average energy produced will serve 18 million households (60 million people). The whole region will benefit from this project by the injection of resources into education, health, safety, environment, infrastructure, development of agriculture and industry, as well as by attracting new investments. The strip of about 100 km of the Xingu River between the powerhouses guarantees the dam operation with a minimum water flow, which is variable throughout the year in order to ensure the navigability of the river and to preserve favorable conditions for aquatic life forms.

World’s largest spillway in construction

The spillway has a total length of 445.5 m, holds 18 radial gates, each 20 m long and 22 m high. The rated flow capacity is 62,000 m³/s, which is almost twice the maximum flow recorded in the last 30 years in the Xingu River. The diversion of the river allowed its return to the original course. With the flow controlled by the spillway floodgates and after the beginning of the reservoir flooding, the minimum flow of 700 m³/s was registered in the first month, which is above the minimum set by regulators.

The installation of the 18 spillway radial gates was completed within 352 days, observing the strict schedule defined by the customer. This is a record confirming the high standards of ANDRITZ HYDRO.

Technical data

Belo Monte:
Output:18 x 611 MW / 679 MVA
Head:87 m
Speed:85.7 rpm
Runner diameter:8,270 mm
Output:6 x 38.8 MW / 40.9 MVA
Head:11.4 m
Speed:100 rpm
Runner diameter:6,450 mm
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