Brazil federal and Rondonia State attorneys filed a civil action in August to overturn a concession auction for the 3,300-mw Jirau hydroelectric project, planned for the Madeira River in Brazil’s Amazon Region. Business News Americas reported the attorneys filed the action against Brazil regulators and the winning consortium, Consorcio Energia Sustentavel do Brasil (Enersus). The lawsuit contends Enersus broke environmental regulations by changing the project location. Enersus said it planned to move Jirau’s dam 9 kilometers downriver to save 1 billion reais (US$626 million). “New environmental licensing is needed to evaluate if the plant’s new location is viable,” the government attorneys said. If the new location is found to be viable, the attorneys contend a new concession auction would be required to promote fair competition. The action came less than a week after Brazil’s energy minister said Enersus and a competing consortium agreed to settle a dispute over Jirau out of court. Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao warned that the government’s utility holding company could take control of both Jirau and its sister project, 3,150-mw Santo Antonio, if their progress was threatened by court action.
Brazil approves 3,150-mw Santo Antonio
Brazil’s electricity regulator granted basic project approval to Consorcio Madeira Energia to build the 3,150-mw Santo Antonio hydroelectric project on Brazil’s Madeira River. The action by Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica allows the consortium to begin construction of the 9.5 billion reais (US$5.9 billion) project. The first two of Santo Antonio’s 44 turbine-generators are to begin operation in December 2012. Consorcio Madeira members include: Furnas Centrais Eletricas; Odebrecht Investimentos em Infra-estrutura; Construtora Norberto Odebrecht; Andrade Gutierrez Participacoes; Cemig Geracao e Transmissao; and Fundo de Investimentos e Participacoes Amazonia Energia.
Georgia seeks U.S. aid, including hydro rehab
The head of the United States’ foreign aid agency says Georgia’s government seeks US$1 billion to US$2 billion in assistance to repair and develop infrastructure after its August conflict with Russia. The request includes aid for hydropower projects. Henrietta Fore, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said the request is for more than simply recovery from hostilities with Russia. She said it includes reconstruction and development money. Prior to the Russian invasion, Georgia had announced it planned to rehabilitate the four-plant, 245-mw Vardnili cascade on the Enguri River. The cascade is not far from 1,250-mw Enguri Dam, which was occupied by forces of Russia and the rebel province of Abkahazia. The deputy head of Russia’s General Staff confirmed seizure of the Enguri plant, saying it had been abandoned by Georgia and that Russian forces occupied the hydro plant to protect it.
Cameroon plans 56-mw Lom Pangar
The government of Cameroon plans to seek bids for consulting work and construction under an energy sector development project that includes the 56-mw Lom Pangar Dam and other hydropower projects. The government applied for US$65 million from the World Bank for the project, which includes a rural energy fund, capacity building, and project preparation. Among other work, the government plans to seek an environmental and social management plan for Lom Pangar. It also is to seek technical assistance to the Electricity Development Corp. (EDC) on project preparation of Lom Pangar, proposed for the Lom River. Other consulting for Lom Pangar includes an environmental and social cumulative impact study, a resettlement action plan, and a pre-feasibility study of a transmission line. Other work for EDC includes: an update of environmental studies of three regulating dams; studies for optimization of five reservoir sites on the Sanaga River; study of a hydroelectric transmission network; and implementation of an information system on the hydroelectric aspect of water basins.
Pakistan plans public-private hydro
Pakistan’s Infrastructure Project Development Facility (IPDF) plans to encourage public-private partnerships to invest in hydropower development in Pakistan. IPDF was established under the Ministry of Finance to set up a Multi-purpose Water Reservoir Financing Cell to focus on project structuring and financing of multi-purpose water reservoir and run-of-river hydro projects with private sector participation. The agency plans to build a framework to undertake hydropower projects with private participation and to raise financing for specific projects.
Chile receives report on 2,750-mw Aysen
The developer of the proposed five-plant, 2,750-mw Aysen hydroelectric complex submitted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to Chile’s environmental commission, Conama. Centrales Hidroelectricas de Aysen S.A. (HidroAysen) plans to build two power plants on the Baker River, 600-mw Baker 1 and 360-mw Baker 2, and three plants on the Pascua River, 460-mw Pascua 1, 770-mw Pascua 2.1, and 500-mw Pascua 2.2, all in Chile’s Aysen Region. The EIA emphasizes establishment of conservation zones for plants and wildlife, extensive reforestation projects, and a social program that includes, among other plans, resettlement of 14 families from the project zone. HidroAysen has attempted to identify effects early, incorporate mitigation in design, and diminish effects on the environment and social and cultural surroundings. HidroAysen said it spent nearly US$12 million on the three-year assessment of the US$3.2 billion hydroelectric complex.
ScottishPower to refurbish nine hydro plants
United Kingdom utility ScottishPower announced a two-year, 20 million pound (US$37.3 million) investment to refurbish nine hydropower plants in three complexes in Scotland. The investment is to carry out a range of civil works and equipment upgrades at the Cruachan, Galloway, and Lanark schemes, which total 562 mw. ScottishPower said the work would mean the Galloway and Lanark schemes will still be operating at 100 years of age in 2036 and 2027. “With no signs that the global markets will level off any time soon, hydro will continue to be an important aspect of our generation business and this is reflected in our investment,” ScottishPower Generation Director Frank Mitchell said.
Brazil firm to build Mozambique project
Mozambique’s government and Brazil construction firm Camargo Correa signed a memorandum of understanding to invest US$3.2 billion in the 1,500-mw Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric project on Mozambique’s Zambezi River. Mozambique Planning and Development Minister Aiuba Quereneia said Camargo Correa would build and possibly operate the project in northern Mozambique’s Tete Province. But the company still needs to find funding for the project, he said. Camargo Correa and its Mozambique partner, Grupo Insitec, filed a detailed proposal for construction of the project in September 2007.
Russia utility eyes hydro projects in Laos
Russia hydroelectricity giant Rushydro is considering development of two or three hydro projects in Laos with a capacity of 150 to 250 mw each, an industry source said. “We are not just talking about local power generation, but about the possibility of exporting power to China,” the source said. RusHydro, the former HydroOGK, is analyzing the projects, and will most likely reach a decision before the end of the year, the source said. The utility declined to give details of its plans but confirmed it was eyeing a few projects in Laos that are in the early stages of development. RusHydro announced plans in 2007 to build hydroelectric projects in Nepal and India with a total generating capacity of 20,000 mw.
Five Peru projects planned by Brazil utility
Peru’s energy minister says Brazil federal utility Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras S/A (Eletrobras) soon will request concessions to study development of five Peru hydroelectric projects totaling more than 1,500 mw. Minister of Energy and Mines Juan Valdivia told Peru’s Andina news service that Eletrobras is seeking water use permits from regional agricultural agencies in each department where the projects are located. The study concessions then would be sought, he said. Valdivia said one project would be built in the Junin Region, another in Huancavelica Region, and three between Puno and Madre de Dios regions. The minister estimated the projects would be completed in about seven years. He said government incentives for renewable resources would help Eletrobras to start up the projects quickly and to seek a financing partner.
Turkey to exit Bulgaria’s 170-mw Gorna Arda
Bulgaria’s energy minister announced in August that CCG, part of Turkey’s Ceylan conglomerate, agreed to sell its stake in Bulgaria’s long-delayed 170-mw Gorna Arda hydropower complex, opening the door for the project’s revival. Minister Petar Dimitrov said CCG also would withdraw a claim in a Paris commercial court that seeks damages from Bulgaria’s state utility NEK over the stalled project. NEK owns 69.9 percent of Gorna Arda’s joint venture company while Ceylan has 30.1 percent. Bulgarian news reports quoted Dimitrov adding that resolution of the dispute could allow Bulgaria to open tendering for a concession to develop the project. The project includes construction of the Gorna Arda water cascade, three new hydropower stations totaling 170 mw, and rehabilitation of three existing hydropower stations that total 274 mw. Bulgaria sought to replace Ceylan with another partner after Ceylan’s Bank Kapital was taken over by Turkish banking authorities in 2000.