Brazil sees 2011 concession for 9,080-MW Sao Luis

The head of Brazil’s energy research agency anticipates a concession auction will be held in 2011 for a giant hydroelectric project site recently discovered in Brazil’s Amazon region.

Chairman Mauricio Tolmasquim of Empresa de Pesquisa Energetica (EPE) said December 13 that surveys have confirmed the hydropower potential of the 9,080-MW Sao Luis hydroelectric project proposed for the Tapajos River, an Amazon River tributary in northern Para State. An official of the Ministerio de Minas e Energia first mentioned Sao Luis in general terms in August. (HNN 8/24/07)

Tolmasquim outlined the project at a seminar, sponsored by Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, on the recently completed auction of another major Amazon project, 3,150-MW Santo Antonio, on the Madeira River. (HNN 12/10/07)

He compared Sao Luis and other Amazon region water resources to the giant Tupi oil field discovered by Brazil’s oil and gas company Petrobras in November.

“We have a wealth of energy in the Amazon,” he said. “This is the Tupi of the electric industry.”

A 2006 study of another portion of the Tapajos River Basin, on the Teles Pires River, found six potential hydro projects totaling 3,697 MW. (HNN 9/6/06)

Tolmasquim said Sao Luis should be included in Brazil’s 2008-2017 energy expansion plan. As part of that plan, he added that the concession auction for Santo Antonio’s sister project on the Madeira, 3,300-MW Jirau, now is expected in May 2008.

The EPE official also predicted concession auctions in late 2009-early 2010 for 11,182-MW Belo Monte on the Xingu River (HNN 12/5/07), and in 2010 for 2,160-MW Maraba on the Tocantins River, a Tapajos tributary in Para State, not connected to the Tocantins River in Brazil’s Tocantins State.

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