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Brazil unit helps CTG go greener

By ZHENG XIN | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-02 09:36

Clean energy trend presents opening to boost ties with S.American nations

China Three Gorges Corporation, the world's largest hydropower producer, is stepping up efforts to make its Brazilian subsidiary a top-tier clean energy generator.

The company shows interest in clean energy cooperation with the South American country.

CTG also said it aims to generate some 15 percent of its revenue from overseas by 2020.

CTG Brazil, founded in 1993, has acquired 17 hydropower stations and 11 wind farms over two decades of operations in South America's largest country.

CTG Brazil is now the biggest private-sector clean energy company and the second-biggest private-sector power generator in Brazil, according to Li Yinsheng, its CEO.

Brazil, the world's second-largest producer of hydroelectric power, has been high in CTG's overseas investment portfolio.

China is also looking forward to more clean energy cooperation with Brazil in the coming decade, he said.

Analysts believe increasing consensus between the two countries is partly because the energy structure worldwide has been shifting from coal to cleaner alternatives like hydropower and wind power.

According to Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst of Asia utilities at Bloomberg Intelligence, China Three Gorges will likely continue investing in Brazil, given the trend toward clean energy.

"It is a logical extension of the strategy adopted by the power giant, given the large size of the (Brazilian) market and the potential growth when it comes to greenfield projects and also in terms of the availability of assets which can be purchased.

"However, challenges that Three Gorges might face include low GDP growth in the short term as well as currency volatility."

It will also give the company an opportunity to further diversify its portfolio, both in terms of clean generation sources and geography, he said.

Zhou Dadi, a senior researcher at the China Energy Research Society agreed with the assessment, but he also cautioned that thorough research of another country's economic situation, policy on foreign investment and energy complementarities are needed to ensure win-win cooperation.

After CTG's agreement to buy Duke Energy's 2,090-megawatt plant in Brazil for $1.2 billion by the end of last year, CTG Brazil's clean energy generation portfolio has increased by 2.27 GW, reaching a total capacity of 8.27 GW under its management and on proportional equity holdings.

In 2015, the company won 30-year concession rights to operate two major hydroelectric projects, the Ilha Solteira and Jupia plants in Brazil, with a total investment of $3.7 billion.

Li said the Brazil subsidiary's success is based on expertise and experience of the parent company, which now has a total capacity of more than 13 GW overseas, enabling it to become a major player in the global clean energy market.

CTG's overseas electricity generation reached 20 billion kilowatt-hours in 2016, mainly from clean energy including hydro power, wind power and solar power, with facilities scattered across the globe, including in Brazil, Greece and Pakistan.

According to Lin Chuxue, executive vice-president of CTG, the company is eyeing not only the clean energy markets in the West but those with abundant hydroelectric and new energy resources, including Africa and Latin America.

The Amazon area and the Parana region in Brazil have rich hydroelectric resources and hence have been a major focus of the company for years now, he said.

Wang Shaofeng, executive vice-president of China Three Gorges International Corporation, the overseas unit of the corporation, said in a previous interview that CTG plans to start from Brazil to expand into other South American countries like Chile, Peru and Colombia.

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