Hydroelectric power is one of the largest renewable energy sources worldwide, and it requires specialist equipment to supply clean electricity. Motor and drive manufacturer WEG produced its largest ever hydrogenerators for the São Roque Hydroelectric Power Plant in Brazil. The plant, which has an installed capacity of 142 megawatts, required new hydrogenerators suitable for such a large-scale project. WEG was able to supply three hydrogenerators to meet the unique requirements of the plant and to support its renewable energy operations.

Hydroelectric power converts the potential energy of water into kinetic energy to produce electricity. It is one of the largest renewable energy sources worldwide, with a global capacity of 1,330 gigawatts (GW) and generation reaching 4418 terrawatt hours (TWh) in 2020, with 674 TWh of this in Europe alone. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that to reach Net Zero by 2050 global capacity will have to double to 2600 GW, making it more important than ever to support hydroelectric power projects.

The São Roque hydroelectric power plant, located in the municipality of Vargem, Santa Catarina, Brazil, harnesses the hydraulic potential of the Canoas River to generate clean energy. This is part of an ongoing infrastructure project to produce power for Brazil’s electric system and to provide a boost to the economy. With an installed capacity of 142 megawatts, the plant has the potential to generate enough power to supply a city with around 170 thousand inhabitants.

Running a plant of this scale is no mean feat, and ensuring safe and efficient operation is of the utmost importance, meaning that high-quality equipment able to operate continuously for long periods is necessary. This is where WEG came in — hydrogenerators are one of the most important components of a hydroelectric power plant, and WEG were able to supply the perfect solution.

WEG supplied a package including three 50.5 MVA, 13.8 kV and 180 rpm SLW 4000 hydrogenerators and, all auxiliary equipment. WEG’s hydrogenerators are certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards and can meet speed and output requirements even for large scale projects. The generators installed at São Roque hydroelectric power plant were the largest ever produced by WEG, weighing a massive 285 tonnes each and measuring approximately eight metres in diameter.

Hydroelectric power supplies around 20 per cent of power worldwide, making it one of the most important sources of renewable energy. Ensuring that hydroelectric plants can operate at their optimum level and continue to generate power is crucial for supplying clean electricity and supporting global net zero goals, and WEG’s generators now play a key role in Brazil’s sustainable electricity system.