Brazil utilities identify five hydros totaling 10,682 MW

Federal utility Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras S/A (Eletrobras) has submitted an inventory to Brazilian regulators outlining five proposed hydroelectric projects on the Tapajos and Jamanxim rivers totaling 10,682 MW.

The study by Eletrobras, its subsidiary Centrais Eletricas do Norte do Brasil (Eletronorte), and engineering firm CNEC Engenharia, is being reviewed by electricity regulator Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica (ANEEL).

An Eletronorte statement said the Complex of the Tapajos in northern Brazil includes 6,133-MW Sao Luiz do Tapajos and 2,338-MW Jatoba on the Tapajos River, and 528-MW Cachoeira dos Patos, 802-MW Cachoeira do Cai, and 881-MW Jamanxim on the Jamanxim River.

Environmental concerns prompted the utilities to scale back the two rivers’ potential from 16 hydro projects totaling 14,000 MW. Among them was the original Sao Luiz do Tapajos proposed for 9,080 MW. (HNN 12/19/07) Due to potential effects on the Trans-Amazon highway and surrounding national parks, the project was divided in two and downsized. The current Sao Luiz do Tapajos would have a reservoir of 722 square kilometers and a head of 35.9 meters.

The complex is expected to require an investment of 31 billion reais (US$17 billion), with installation costs ranging from 52 reais to 74 reais (US$28.55 to US$40.63) per installed MW.

Approval by ANEEL is expected within eight months, after which the companies could begin a feasibility study and environmental impact report. Once those are complete, the projects could be offered for development in concession auctions in about three years.

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