Brazil’s 2006 studies find 139 hydro sites of 6,075 MW

Brazil’s energy regulator reports it approved 27 river basin inventories in 2006 that identified 15 potential hydroelectric projects and 124 potential small hydro projects totaling an estimated 6,075 MW.

Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica (ANEEL) said the studies represent the first stage in a process of identifying the generating capacity of Brazil’s unexploited rivers. It said they serve as a subsidy in the process of granting concessions to hydroelectric developers.

ANEEL also reported the completion of a feasibility study for the 350.2-MW Baixo Iguacu project. Baixo Iguacu, on the Iguacu River in Parana State, was among four hydro projects held back from an October 2006 concession auction due to environmental clearances and other problems. (HNN 10/12/06)

Feasibility studies are the phase following the inventory studies and are submitted to ANEEL for use in future concession solicitations.

The agency said in the past year it approved 48 hydro projects totaling 891 MW. Forty-six of those were small hydro projects — pequenas centrais hidreletricas (PCH) — totaling 690 MW. The other two were larger projects totaling 201 MW.

The larger projects are required to perform further elaboration on the feasibility studies. However, the PCH projects, up to 30 MW in capacity and 3 square kilometers in reservoir area, are subject to a simpler process.

From 1998-2006, ANEEL said it has approved about 400 hydroelectric inventory studies totaling 50,671 MW of potential capacity, equal to 58 percent of Brazil’s current installed capacity of 96,302 MW.

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