Brazil delays main power, concession auctions to June

Brazil Mines and Energy Minister Silas Rondeau announced Brazil is delaying its next major power and hydro site concession auctions to June from May 10.

Rondeau said the delay was granted to give the federal energy research agency, Empresa de Pesquisa Energetica (EPE), more time to analyze documentation submitted by projects enrolled in the auctions. A preliminary list of 205 hydro and thermal projects totaled 25,496 MW.

However, the minister confirmed a May 24 auction of power from small hydro and other alternative energy sources would continue as scheduled. EPE said 143 such projects totaling 4,570 MW are registered. They include 77 hydro projects, of no more than 30 MW each, totaling 1,281 MW; 42 biomass plants totaling 1,504 MW; and 24 wind power plants totaling 1,786 MW.

Additionally, Rondeau said a plan to auction a build-operate concession for at least one of the big Madeira River projects, 3,580-MW Santo Antonio, was expected to be held in July as previously announced. (HNN 2/13/07) Santo Antonio’s sister project, 3,300-MW Jirau, could be offered for concession at the end of 2007 or in early 2008.

The Madeira River auction could be hindered by an announcement March 14 that federal lawyers filed suit against licensing for the big projects.

Solicitors in Rondonia State filed suit against government-owned utility Furnas Centrais Eletricas, which carried out environmental impact statements with engineering company Odebrecht, and environmental agency Instituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente (Ibama). Ibama has not completed the projects’ environmental approvals, which would clear the way for their inclusion in concession auctions.

The lawsuit contends the environmental licensing process and the environmental impact statement should be nullified because they failed to consider effects of related transmission lines.

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