Brazil to offer up to 8.5GW on 2014 hydro menu

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Brazilian government has revealed plans to auction hydroelectric projects totaling up to 8.5GW of installed capacity this year.

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Among the plants being considered is the 7.61GW São Luiz do Tapajós mega-hydro in the northern state of Pará, according to federal energy planning company EPE.

"In terms of hydroelectric plants, this year we are putting together a big menu," EPE chief executive Mauricio Tolmasquim said in a televised interview broadcast by Brazilian news website Valor Econômico.

Given its size and complexity, São Luiz do Tapajós is likely to be auctioned on its own while a separate round for projects totaling 900MW will also be held. Both auctions have been earmarked for the second half of the year.

Under Brazil's generation bid-round rules, only plants with an environmental license will be available.

Among the projects likely to be tendered this year, only one - the 145MW Itaocara plant in Rio de Janeiro - already has a permit.

"It's clear that we won't be able to put all of the plants we want in the auction but plans are underway to build all of them," Tolmasquim said.

According to EPE, five projects on the government's auction short-list are located in the southern state of Paraná, including four in the Piquiri river basin.

Others under consideration are the 74MW Davinópolis plant on the border of Minas Gerais and Goiás states and the 113MW Ribeiro Gonçalves facility on the Parnaíba river, bordering Piauí and Maranhão states.

In addition, the government plans to tender a 439MW expansion of the 3.15GW Santo Antônio plant in the northwestern state of Rondônia.

Tolmasquim confirmed the government is analyzing an exclusive bid-round for solar power. The renewable source was offered in auctions last year but failed to attract bids due to uncompetitive prices.

Meanwhile EPE says 600MW of wind power will be added to Brazil's grid later this month, following the conclusion of two substations built by state-run utility Chesf in Brazil's northeast.