» Generating Capacity » Furnas Hydroelectric Plant
The Furnas Hydroelectric Plant was the first power station built by the company and from which it inherited its name. The dam is located on the middle course of the Grande river, along a section known as "Furnas Corridor" between the cities of São José da Barra and São João Batista do Glória, in Minas Gerais.

Construction began in July 1958; the first generator unit went online in September 1963 and the sixth in July 1965. At the beginning of the 70s, an expansion project was undertaken to install the seventh and eighth units, totaling 1,216 MW, making it one of the biggest hydro projects in Latin America. The plant's excellent location (500km from Rio de Janeiro, 400 km from Sao Paulo and 300 km from Belo Horizonte) helped avoid a major energy collapse in Brazil during the mid-1960s, avoiding rationing and supply outages for Brazilian industry. The plant was designed to produce what, at the time, would have represented 1/3 of Brazil's total generating capacity. The Furnas Plant is now a milestone in the construction of major hydroelectric plants in Brazil and it helps control the Grande river, supporting construction of another 8 plants producing a total of more than 6,000 MW.

A number of important services are also located in the area around the power station:

THE MICROBIOLOGY AND FISH BREEDING STATION: Here, fish are bred to repopulate reservoirs and help maintain the quality of the reservoir water, serving all of FURNAS plants;

TECHNICAL TEST AND MEASUREMENT CENTER: Provides technical support for the FURNAS electricity system operation and maintenance activities. The center is recognized nationwide for its specialist work on instrumentation, measurement and electrical/electronic, electromechanical, physical and chemical tests. It has been accredited by Inmetro and is part of the Brazilian Calibration Network (RBC);

FURNAS TRAINING CENTER: This center trains and provides refresher courses for employees specializing in electro-electronics and operation and control of electrical power systems. It also provides services and consultancy to electricity companies in Brazil and abroad.

EMERGENCY CONTROL TRAINING CENTER: This is a modern center of excellence in an area of 30,000 m² located alongside the Grande river, at the Furnas Plant. It provides firefighting and panic control training courses and is able to support government agencies such as the Fire Department, Forestry Battalions and other electricity companies. The Center offers the following training courses:

  • Theoretical and practical training in special clothing and autonomous air masks (16 hours)
  • Basic firefighting and how to use fire extinguishers (eight hours)
  • Fire Brigade Training (40 hours).



Type: rock filled embankment dam with a clay core
Max. height: 127 m
Length of the crest: 554 m
Crest width: 15 m
Crest height: 772 m
Total volume: 9,450,000 m³


Maximum length: 220 km
Maximum storage level: 768 m
Maximum flood level: 769.30 m
Minimum operating level: 750 m
Flooded area: 1,440 km²
Total volume: 22.95 billion m³
Operating volume: 17.217 billion m³


Flood gates:
Type - penstock
Quantity - 8
Water height above the sill - 33.5 m
width - 4.7 m
height - 9.7 m
Manufacturers: Rheinstahl/M.A.N.(R.F. Germany)


Maximum discharge: 13,000 m³/s
Flood gates:
Type - segment
Quantity - 7
width - 11.5 m
height - 15.8 m
radius - 14.1 m
Manufacturer: HIH (Japan)


Type: covered
Size: 186 m x 28 m
Generating units:
Quantity - 8
revolutions: 150 rpm
rated power. 152 MW
Type - Francis vertical axis
Rotor diameter - 4.485 m
1 to 6 (Nohab/Sweden)
7 and 8 (Nohab/Sweden and Bardella/Brazil)
Frequency - 60 Hz
Terminal voltage: 15 kV
1 to 6 (Siemens/R.F. Germany)
7 to 8 (CGE/Canada and MEP/Brazil)
Transformers: 26 (operational plus reserve)
Type - single phase
Total operating capacity - 1,279.92 MVA
Transformation ratio: 15/345 kV
Manufacturers: Manufacturers: GE (USA) / Jeumont Schneider (France)