Brazil sets auction date for 3,150-MW Santo Antonio

Brazil’s Ministerio de Minas e Energia (MME) has set October 30 for the concession auction of the 3,150-MW Santo Antonio hydroelectric project, one of the two big projects comprising the 6,450-MW Madeira River complex.

In a decree published August 13, MME launched the formal concession process, in which energy regulator Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica (ANEEL) is to issue formal bidding rules following a consultation process. Conduct of the auction also must receive approval of the Conselho Nacional de Politica Energetica and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The ministry also said an auction will be held in 2008 for a concession to build the transmission line linking Santo Antonio to the national grid. Santo Antonio’s sister project, 3,300-MW Jirau, is expected to be auctioned in early 2008.

MME said construction companies or equipment suppliers may hold no more than 20 percent ownership of any bidder consortia. It added that Brazilian federal utilities may own a minority stake in bidder consortia. (HNN 7/19/07) If a foreign company or consortium wins the auction, it must establish a special purpose subsidiary to develop and operate the project.

The Jirau and Santo Antonio dams would be built 84 kilometers and 119 kilometers from the Bolivian border on the Madeira, an Amazon River tributary. The two hydro projects, with 44 turbines each, have an estimated cost of 22 billion reais (US$11.6 billion). MME said Santo Antonio is expected to begin delivering power in 2012 under a 30-year contract.

The ministry said the auction plan is under public consultation. Comments, recommendations, and questions may be submitted until August 17 to the Ministerio de Minas e Energia by e-mail at santoantonio@mme.gov.br.

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