Brazil advances rules to streamline small hydro approvals

Brazil’s electricity regulator is considering new rules to streamline the approval process for small hydropower projects.

Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica (ANEEL) is considering new procedures for registration, selection, elaboration, acceptance, and grants of authorization for small hydropower projects, �pequenas centrais hidreletricas� (PCH). The procedures are to implement a government resolution to optimize and simplify the PCH approval process.

The main changes in the rules involve four areas: focus of evaluations in the characterization of hydraulic potential; reduction in the time required for the process before ANEEL; new criteria for decision making when one or more developers compete for the same site; and application of penalties in the event of non-fulfillment of authorization requirements.

The rules would require a developer to present evidence of capacity to invest in the project and a deposit that may vary from 20,000 to 150,000 reais (US$12,426 to US$93,197). Registration would be valid for 12 months, but would not be renewable. If the registration expires, the same company would be required to wait 60 days before reapplying for the same site.

The new rules also would require a prior environmental license for a site, beyond the currently required declaration of reserve of the hydro resource.


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