The Brazilian power company said it hoped to participate in the projects but added that it was unclear if the government would being selling 100% of the projects, or a controlling stake of 51%, or another equity level.

Cemig – the state energy company of Minias Gerais – commented on its hydro investment hopes on the Madeira projects when it released its financial results for 2006. The company’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) last year were up almost 37% to R$3.3B.

Two hydro projects are planned on the Rio Madeira to total 6450MW in capacity – the 3300MW Jirau project and the 3150MW Santo Antonio scheme.

Both project sites are near Porto Velho in the state of Rondonia. It is planned to build barrage dams with Kaplan turbines to exploit the hydro potential of the Madeira at the sites.

For the Jirau project 44 turbines each with 75MW capacity are planned, and the same number at Santo Antonio but of 71.6MW capacity.

Power would be exported form the hydro plants via an expansion of the national transmission grid into the states of Rondonia and Mato Grosso by 2009.

Cemig sees itself as an active leader in the consolidation of the energy sector in Brazil.