Cost of Belo Monte project triples

The cost to build Brazil’s proposed 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydroelectric plant has more than tripled, according to Eletrobras, the government-owned electric utility in Brazil.

Speaking at an energy summit in Rio de Janeiro, Eletrobras CEO Jose Antonio Muniz Lopes, said the project’s estimated cost rose from $3.6 billion to $11 billion because the company decided to increase the plant’s capacity from 5GW to 11.2GW.

“During the process of drawing the project, we saw we could increase its capacity which will also increase costs,” he said.

The Belo Monte project will be sold at an auction later this year, perhaps in November, said Mauricio Talmasquim, president of federal energy planning company EPE. The auction was originally scheduled for September.

“The guidelines for the tender will be published soon,” Talmasquim said

Muniz Lopes said the hydro project, which will be built on the Xingu River, is vital to Brazil’s plan to increase the nation’s electricity supplies. Belo Monte is one of the major energy projects being promoted under Brazil’s Growth Acceleration Program, which provides more favorable financing to investors. If the auction proceeds as planned, Belo Monte is expected to be completed by April 2014. (HydroWorld 6/29/09)

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