State Grid Corp of China, the country’s largest power distributor, launched a power transmission project on May 19 during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Brazil.
Li, on his first day of a three-day visit to Brazil, witnessed the launching ceremony, via a video broadcast, together with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, after the two countries signed multi-billion-dollar deals in Brasilia.
The ceremony was held in Sao Paulo, the Brazilian state to which the power generated by the hydropower station will eventually be transmitted, according to an official from the State Grid Corp.
In February last year, IE Belo Monte, a consortium formed by State Grid and two Brazilian utility companies, won a bid to build and operate a transmission line connecting the Belo Monte Amazon dam in northern Brazil to the southeast of the country.
It is the first ultra-high-voltage transmission project the Chinese company has won overseas. The company said in a statement that it marks a milestone in the “going global” strategy for its ultra-high-voltage technologies. It is also Brazil’s first ultra-high-voltage transmission system.
The transmission system will run from the Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant, which is being built on the Xingu River in Brazil’s Para state, to the southeast, which accounts for 80 percent of the nation’s power demand.
The Belo Monte plant will be the second-largest hydropower plant in Brazil. State Grid holds a 51 percent stake in IE Belo Monte, while Furnas and Eletronorte, two units of state-owned power utility Eletrobras, hold 24.5 percent.
The project includes a 2,092-km transmission line and converter stations at both ends. Construction will take nearly four years.
“As a world leader in UHV DC transmission construction and operation, SGCC will promote China’s technology, equipment and experience in ultra-high-voltage transmission into the Brazilian and other overseas markets,” the company said.
The company operates overseas assets in the Philippines, Brazil, Portugal, Australia, Italy and also in Hong Kong. To date, its overseas investment is $9.8 billion and its overseas assets are valued at $29.8 billion.
The company first moved into the Brazilian market in 2010 when it invested $989 million in power transmission lines.