Brazilian power generator Gerasul, which has a 70% stake in the Itá dam, has begun commercially operating the first of the dam’s five turbines. When the plant is fully operational in February 2001, it will have a total output capacity of 1450MW and a guaranteed output of 720MW.

The original timetable for the remaining turbines’ operation was September 2001, but the schedule has been cut by six months due to a short supply of energy in the country, according to Gerasul’s president, Manuoel Zaroni Torres. The power generated by Itá, located on the Uraguay river between the southern states of Santa Carina and Rio Grande do Sul, will represent at least R$150M (US$83M) in billings for Gerasul based on the initial contracts.