Brazil sees upcoming concession auction for 11,182-MW Belo Monte

A Brazilian energy ministry official has confirmed the government is planning a concession auction for September or October for the 11,182-MW Belo Monte hydroelectric project proposed for Brazil’s Xingu River.

Executive Secretary Marcio Zimmermann of the Ministerio de Minas e Energia said environmental licensing is well under way and moving normally, and that reports to the contrary has been contradicted by Environment Minister Carols Minc, state-run news service Agencia Brasil reported.

Brazil’s environmental agency, Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renovaveis (Ibama), received an environmental impact assessment and an environmental impact report on Belo Monte in February from national utility Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras S/A (Eletrobras). (HNN 3/3/09) Eletrobras is expected to compete for the concession.

Zimmerman clarified that the government reinventoried the Xingu River, finding the Belo Monte site to be the best possible development on the river.

Brazil’s national energy policy council declared in 2008 that hydropower development on the Xingu River would be limited to Belo Monte. The declaration emphasized the importance of the Xingu River area for conservation of biological diversity and protection of native culture.

Belo Monte is expected to be completed by April 2014 for an estimated investment of 7 billion reais (US$2.8 billion).

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