GDF Suez has strengthened its position in Brazil’s electricity market through the completion of the 148 MW Sao Salvador dam on the Tocantins River.

The European utility, which is also building a 3300 MW hydropower project in the country, says that the Sao Salvador project is the company’s 15th power plant in Brazil. Output from the dam has already been sold by auction, netting GDF Suez 2 billion Euros over 30 years from 2011.

The company also says it has started construction of the 3300 MW Jirau project, which is on the Madeira River and is the country’s largest infrastructure project. It was awarded this concession in May 2008 and expects the project to start operating in 2013.

Strong historical ties and an electricity demand growth rate of over five per cent have made Brazil a key target market for GDF Suez.

“The construction of the Sao Salvador Dam is symbolic of our industrial development in Brazil,” said Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman and CEO of GDF Suez. “With forecasted growth for the country’s electricity demand at over five per cent annually until 2015, GDF Suez would like to continue profitable and sustainable growth through new hydroelectric projects, acquisition of existing production assets and development in alternative renewable resources such as biomass.”