Brazil, Argentina advance development of 1,800-MW Garabi

The presidents of Brazil and Argentina have signed an agreement to put into operation the 1,800-MW Garabi hydroelectric project on their common border, the Uruguai River.

The pact was signed during a visit by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The leaders signed several cooperative agreements including the deal to advance Garabi. (HNN 5/5/08)

Argentina Planning Minister Julio de Vido said the agreement advanced essential steps enabling project tendering to begin in as soon as 24 months, compared to the previous estimated schedule of 50 months.

Argentina state news agency Telam quoted De Vido saying the governments would define a bi-national development company within 120 days that would have capital from private, state, and combined sources.

�In 24 months, we will have finalized the feasibility studies and costs that are going to allow us to initiate the solicitation process,� De Vido said.

The latest description of the project anticipates construction of up to three hydroelectric plants totaling 1,800 MW for an investment of about US$2 billion. It is to be located at Garruchos in three states, Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and Misiones and Corrientes in Argentina.

Garabi had been shelved in the 1990s as infeasible due to high environmental and social effects. Although the project originally was planned to be 1,860 MW, it was proposed to expand it to three 900-MW dams totaling 2,700 MW. Latest reports indicate the recent studies again scaled back the size of the project.

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