The key region for EDP’s hydro development is Brazil where it already has 1,043MW of installed capacity, supplying mostly power purchase agreements (PPAs), and 1,589MW in development studies.

The existing portfolio comprises: Peixe Angical (452MW), which has a PPA expiring 2016 Lajeado (250MW), which has a PPA maturing in 2012; and the Mascarenhas plant (181MW), which has PPA arrangements of 131MW to 2012 and 50MW to 2037.

In addition, EDP has 12 mini hydro plants in Brazil with a total of 161MW capacity supplying the market on PPA and merchant basis until approximately 2023.

The average life of the PPAs is approximately 10 years.

EDP classes its development studies in Brazil as ranging from plants under construction to those in analysis and yet to be auctioned by the electricity regulator Aneel (12 plants with a total capacity of 1,022MW).

The company is building the 29MW Santa Fe plant, which has a PPA to 2038. It also has development analysis underway on 538MW of assets in the form of 24 mini-hydro plants, each less than 30MW). The main restriction on the latter is environmental licensing it noted.

It added that Brazil has strong demand growth, tight reserve margin and a high level of undeveloped hydro. While noting that Brazil expects to have added 60GW of hydro capacity over 2005-20, EDP further notes that mini-hydro plants and repowering opportunities at plants are the more flexible options in terms of the environmental licensing process and shorter construction periods of approximately two years.

However, apart from the potential of Brazil, EDP is also looking at a number of domestic hydro developments, such as 918MW of repowering capacity by 2015. Plants at advanced stages of study are: Venda Nova III (435MW by 2014); Paradela II (310MW by 2015); Salamonde II (88MW by 2014); and, Cabril II (85MW by 2015).

Projects classed by EDP as “ongoing investment” include two new plants and three refurbishment and uprating schemes. The Baixo Sabor (170MW) plant is to be built by 2013, and EDP has the majority participation in the 41MW Ribeiradio, also to be completed by 2013. The uprating and refurbishment (‘repowering’) contracts include Bemposta II and Alqueva II. All of those contracts are due to start this year or next. The repowering work on the Picote II plant is already underway and is due for completion in 2012.

Apart from its own developments, EDP also notes that the Portuguese Government intends to award 10 new hydro plants with a total capacity of 1,096MW – mostly in the Douro river basin (Foz Tua, Fridao, Padroselos, Gouvaes, Daivoes and Vidago. The other plants are Almourol, Pinhosao, Girabolhos and Alvito.

EDP reported last month that output was down almost 40% to 4,11GWh in the fourth quarter of 2007 mainly due to low hydropower production. The fall was greater in hydro output for PPAs in Q4 but for the full year the decrease was not so marked.