Foreign companies sweep Brazilian hydropower plant auction

Auction

The Brazilian government netted close to US$4 billion in an auction that featured the operating licenses for four hydropower projects earlier today.

China’s State Power Investment Corp. claimed the largest plant, paying $2.4 billion to operate the 1.71-GW Sao Simao.

France’s Engie paid $1.1 billion to run the 424-MW Jaguara and 408-MW Miranda.

Last, Italy’s Enel won rights to the 380-MW Volta Grande for $440 million.

The government said in May that winning bidders would be required to pay at minimum $2 billion for Sao Simao, $570 million for Jaguara, $330 million for Miranda and $390 million for Volta Grande.

Terms of the sale require the winning bidders to guarantee 70% of each project’s output for distribution via regulated market contracts, but say the remainder is eligible for sale on the free market.

All four of the projects had previously been operated by state-run utility Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (Cemig), whose licenses were revoked after the company refused to terms of Brazil’s energy sector reform under former president Dilma Rouseff.

HydroWorld.com reported in June 2013 that Brazil’s Supreme Court had granted an injunction to Cemig to allow it to maintain control of Jaguara, which was challenged in June 2015 before courts yet again gave Cemig control of Jaguara via a temporary concession in December of the same year. A similar injunction was granted to Cemig for Miranda in December 2016.

The auction was originally to have taken place in April, though a recently-dismissed suit filed by Cemig delayed the sale.

 

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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