Aneel releases studies to install three mega plants in the Amazon

State-owned Eletrobras and its subsidiary Eletronorte received approval from the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) to carry out the plan to build three large hydroelectric plants in the Tapajós River Basin, in the Amazon, one of the most preserved areas in the region.

This week, the agency approved the request of state-owned companies to prepare technical and economic feasibility studies for the Jamanxim, Cachoeira do Caí and Cachoeira dos Patos plants, hydroelectric plants that would total more than 2,200 megawatts, enough to supply more than 3 millions of families. The surveys can be carried out until December 31, 2023. For more than ten years, Aneel has received requests to study the construction of these plants, but these have never been made possible.

Eletrobras and Eletronorte are part of the “Tapajós Consortium”, created to make these hydroelectric plants viable, which, for over a decade, have not come off the drawing board due to possible impacts on conservation areas and indigenous lands.

The result of failed attempts in recent years ended up emptying the consortium itself. What is now reduced to a state partnership brought, until mid-2017, the names of French companies such as Electricité de France and GDF Suez Energy Latin America (now Engie), as well as national companies such as Neoenergia, Copel and Cemig. This training is still included in Aneel’s approval document.

All were gathered for the purpose of building the largest hydroelectric complex in the country in the middle of the Amazon, which included two other plants, São Luiz do Tapajós and Jatobá, the largest. IBAMA, still in 2016, shelved the São Luiz licensing process, due to the direct impact on indigenous lands, which is prohibited by law.

None of these plants became viable, and the consortium lost the interest of private members, who got tired of spending money on failed projects. There were no less than R$ 130 million injected into piles of studies.

Since 2013, no medium or large hydroelectric project has been tendered by the federal government, due to environmental complexity. The government already has the inventory of each river, with the generation capacity of each plant, but basically all the proposals include the creation of reservoirs that would flood large protected areas.

What do the state companies say?

When questioned, Eletrobras stated in a note that, “from a technical point of view, the Tapajós River basin holds a relevant hydroelectric potential, with a high natural capacity to regulate the river’s flows throughout the year” and that the studies of the new plants ” still need government action”.

Eletronorte stated that “all the projects are technically viable and would bring great gains to the Brazilian population, as they are clean, renewable energy projects with a potentially lower cost than other generation sources”.

About Yadunandan Singh

Born in 1992, Yadunandan approaches the world of video games thanks to two sacred monsters like Diablo and above all Sonic, strictly in the Sega Saturn version. Ranging between consoles and PCs, he is particularly fond of platform titles and RPGs, not disdaining all other genres and moving in the constant search for the perfect balance between narration and interactivity.

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