The Santo Antônio Hydroelectric Plant arrived in Porto Velho with the proposal of integrating with the local community and, therefore, contributing to economic development and improving the population’s quality of life. This aim is materialized both through social-environmental projects introduced and by sharing values to be obtained with the hydroelectric plant’s operation. A part of these values return to the state of Rondônia and city of Porto Velho as royalties. The remainder was brought forward and transformed into specific projects that contribute both to boosting economic activity and quality of life and expanding the population’s personal and professional prospects.
When fully operating in November 2016, the Santo Antônio Hydroelectric Plant will pay something in the range of BRL 100 million per year in royalties for using the water in the Madeira River. The resources will be divided as follows: 45% to the municipality of Porto Velho, 45% to the state of Rondônia, 3% to the Ministry of the Environment, 3% to the Ministry of Mines and Energy and 4% to the National Scientific and Technological Development Fund (FNDCT). It falls to the Public Authority to direct resources to services and projects for the population.
The concessionaire, Santo Antônio Energia, built seven residential centers to house more than 500 families who had been transferred from areas close to the plant reservoir. The basic presupposition was that its installations should be better than their previous homes or to the same standard as a minimum. The characteristics of each venture were defined together with this sector of the population. The new centers have the following in common: an infrastructure network with access to electrical energy and basic sanitation; locations for collective use, such as 1st grade schools, health and community centers and facilities to carry out activities which may substitute or encourage those executed in their previous homes. The resettlement process was completed in 2011, before the Santo Antônio Hydroelectric Plant started operating, and this transition will be followed-up and supported for a three year period, in order to guarantee the residents’ adaptation to their new homes.
Large power plants always captivate tourists and Porto Velho has another important attraction in addition to the Santo Antônio Hydroelectric Plant: the historic Madeira-Mamoré Railroad which dates back to the country’s rubber cycle and whose construction was completed in 1912. The concessionaire, Santo Antônio Energia, has engaged in making this tourist complex viable in order to encourage an increase in economic activity and generate income in the city. It has already renovated a facility and the Madeira-Mamoré station and it will complete another facility in 2013, in addition to the workshop and rotunda. The work is carried out in partnership with Porto Velho City Hall and the Brazilian Institute for National Historic and Artistic Heritage (Iphan), with the first phase having been completed in 2010. Santo Antônio Energia also supported the Porto Velho City Hall in installing a Tourist Information Center (CAT) at Governador Jorge Teixeira de Oliveira International Airport. Visitors can obtain information on the city, services and leisure options available in the area.