Ibama denies building permit for Brazil’s 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydropower plant

Belo Monte Hydropower Project

Brazil’s Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources (Ibama), has denied an operating license for the controversial 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydropower project, saying its developers had not yet met conditions required for approval.

According to Ibama’s technical analysis, Belo Monte’s developer, consortium Norte Energia, has not met 10 of the 12 conditions required for the license. Until these conditions are met, the project will be delayed and the plant’s reservoir may not be filled.

Per Ibama, Norte Energia must still address basic sanitation and infrastructure concerns, while also completing housing promised to persons displaced by the massive hydroelectric plant.

The group had originally wanted to begin filling the reservoir in November with the goal of bringing its first generating units on line early next year.

Ibama’s denial is only the latest delay in the project’s controversial development.

HydroWorld.com reported in October 2013 that the country’s Regional Federal Court of the 1st Region had granted an injunction canceling a license for Belo Monte’s construction, though other stoppages have been caused by worksite occupations and questions about the legitimacy of the plant’s regulatory approvals.

Norte Energia awarded a pair of contracts for the supply of mechanical equipment.

Power corporation Cemig Geracao e Transmissao SA had made a deal to acquire a 49% share in the plant from mining company Vale in April.

Belo Monte has a completion deadline of 2018, though developer Norte Energia filed a request for a construction extension this past June. A federal court rejected a request in July from from a public prosecutor to suspend work on the project because Norte Energia was accused of failing to consult properly with aboriginal groups potentially affected by Belo Monte.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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