Eletrobras proactive in engaging public about Garabi, Panambi hydroelectric plants

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Perhaps trying to avoid public outcry caused by other large hydropower projects being constructed in Brazil, state-run utility Eletrobras recently held a meeting to discuss its proposed Garabi and Panambi hydroelectric plants.

The event was sponsored by the Council for Economic and Social Development and included more than 500 farmers, fishermen, politicians and other interested parties from both Brazil and Argentina.

Engineering, environmental impact and other studies commissioned by Eletrobras and Argentina’s Emprendimientos Energia Binacional Sociedad Anonima (Ebisa) were presented during the meeting, with Eletrobras emphasizing that “only those studies are occurring at this time”.

“There is no decision on the construction of the projects,” Eletrobras official Cardinal Valter Luiz de Souza said. “Everything will depend on our dialogue with the community.”

The pair of projects would be constructed along the border between the two countries, combining for 2,200 MW of installed capacity and costing about US$5.2 billion.

Both Eletrobras and Ebisa have emphasized that they want an open dialogue with the public throughout the development process, perhaps reflecting opposition to the 1.8-GW Teles Pires and 11.2-GW Belo Monte projects — both of which have been the subject of much controversy and forced work stoppages throughout their construction.

The companies are also being cautious in their approach to Brazil’s stringent environmental standards.

“Everything will be done within the regulations,” de Souza said. “Brazil has some of the toughest environmental laws in the world, and Brazil’s standards will be upheld by both countries.”

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