Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia to build five hydropower projects

Brazil Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao says Brazil plans to build five hydroelectric projects totaling 10,000 MW with neighbors Argentina and Bolivia.

Lobao said February 25 that three hydro projects are under consideration with Argentina and two with Bolivia. He said the total investment of 30 billion reais (US$17.5 billion) is to be divided among the three countries.

“We’ll start taking steps already this month,” the minister said. “We’ll have a joint meeting of energy ministers from the three countries.”

Lobao said the energy ministers would meet in about ten days to define terms and locations where the projects would be built. He added that environment ministers of the three countries would participate to reduce bureaucratic delays.

The energy minister made the remarks after returning with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who met with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Bolivian President Evo Morales in Buenos Aires.

At that meeting, Lula and Fernandez agreed to accelerate development of one specific hydro project, 1,800-MW Garabi on the Uruguai River. (HNN 2/25/08)

Last year, Brazil’s planning and energy development secretary, Marcio Zimmermann, predicted such joint hydro ventures with Argentina and Brazil. (HNN 8/24/07) At that time, he reported on an inventory by Brazil and Argentina of the Uruguai Basin and plans to complete a feasibility study of hydro potential.

Zimmermann also had noted Brazil has 100 kilometers of joint border with Bolivia where bi-national projects could be discussed. As recently as 2003, Brazilian utilities studied the possibility of building a 3,000-MW Cachoeira Esperanza hydro project in Bolivia on the Madeira River, upstream from two major projects being developed in Brazil, 3,150-MW Santo Antonio and 3,300-MW Jirau. (HNN 2/13/08)

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