Santo Antônio Hydroelectric Plant will be one of the five largest generators of Brazil and one of the 15 largest hydroelectric plants in the world, presenting the best relation between megawatt ( MW ) generated x reservoir area : 9MW/km ². It will have 3,568 megawatts of installed capacity and will produce an average of 2,424 megawatts in November 2016, when construction is completed. Will be 50 units in total, each one with an average power of 71.3 megawatts.
These characteristics were attained because the plant was planned to reach maximum efficiency with minimal social-environmental impact. This proposal required various innovative engineering and technology solutions. From a technological point of view, one of the main solutions was the installation of bulb turbines, which are the largest in operation in the world today.
The main characteristic of Santo Antônio Hydroelectric Plant is the use of Madeira River´s high flow to generate power with reduced reservoir and low waterfall. The plant´s operating model, called “run-of-the-river” , which does not store water, means that its reservoir only occupies 421,56 km2, an area slightly larger than during the periods when the Madeira River is flooded and 142 km2 corresponding to the river´s natural channel .
Interesting fact: the development of bulb turbines required various large-scale manufacturers to join forces because of their size and complexity.