Construction of Santo Antônio Hydroelectric Plant began in September 2008 and the first two turbines started operating on March 30, 2012, which was nine months earlier than the concession contract´s scheduled date. It currently produces energy while operating with 44 turbines – approximately 3.150,43 megawatts of total power.
The schedule was completed in advance as a result of the construction plan, starting from the banks to the center of the river and allowing for work to carried out simultaneously on both sides of the Madeira River. Additionally, the plant benefited from two spillways: the main one on the left bank and a complementary one on the right. The first group of turbines starts to operate on the right bank (Power House 1), while the others are in various construction and assembly stages, scheduled to start operating by 2016.
Santo Antônio Hydroelectric Plant will be completed in November 2016, operating with 50 installed turbines with 3,568 megawatts of total power – enough energy to supply power consumption of more than 45 million people. Santo Antônio Hydroelectric Plant´s 50 turbines are distributed among four power houses. Two of these (Powerhouse 2 and 3, with 12 turbines each) are located on the left bank of the Madeira River. Power House 1 (the first to start operating) has 8 units and was constructed on the right bank. Power House 4, which also as 18 turbines, is being installed in the center of the river bed.
Santo Antônio Hydroelectric Plant has two spillways and a total of 18 floodgates, allowing up to 84,000m3 of water to pass per second. It was also benefited from an advanced Fish Transposition System, reproducing their natural habitat, allowing migratory species to go up the river during spawning season and guaranteeing reproduction.
Interesting Fact: the amount of concrete and steel used to build Santo Antônio Hydroelectric Plant would be enough to build 40 Maracanã Stadiums and 18 Eiffel Towers.