The president of Brazilian electric energy company Eletrobrás, José Antônio Muniz, announced yesterday (19), at the 22nd Brazilian Energy Congress, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, that the holding company is looking at building five new hydroelectric plants in the Tapajós River, which crosses the northern states of Amazonas and Pará.
The enterprises should have a production capacity of 10,680 megawatts (MW) of energy, and the projects should be tendered by mid-2010.
According to Eletrobrás, construction of the units is part of a project turned to sustainable energy, and will be integrated with the northern Brazilian communities. Eletrobrás is also contemplating the installation of transmission lines, in order to further connect the North of the country, by means of the so-called "Linhão" (Big Line), to the National Interconnected System (SIN).
Muniz explained that the goal of Eletrobrás is to build the new units under the concept known as platform-plant – a model proposed by the Brazilian minister of Environment, Carlos Minc. The concept forecasts for the hydroelectric plant to be installed without the traditional infrastructure, such as roads and construction sites with barracks, which attract a large number of people to the area surrounding the site.
The president of Eletrobrás stated that the holding has already submitted the studies that it conducted on the Tapajós River to the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel). Now, Eletrobrás is going to negotiate with the Brazilian Environment and Renewable Natural Resource Institute (Ibama) so that studies and reports on environmental impact may be made available at the same time, similar to what took place with the plants in the Madeira River Complex.
On the occasion, José Antônio Muniz informed that the Belo Monte Power Plant, also in the state of Pará, with a forecasted capacity of 11,180 MW, should be even closer to this new concept of platform-plant.
The executive also announced that Eletrobrás has the intention of proposing to the Energy Research Company (Epe) the inclusion, in the strategic planning of the electric sector, the construction of three new transmission lines in the North.
According to him, the first should link the city of Boa Vista, capital of the state of Roraima, to Manaus, capital of the Amazonas, with 230 kV so as to improve the power supply to the state of Roraima, currently linked by means of a connection with Venezuela.
The second line will also link Porto Velho, the capital of Rondônia, to Manaus, thus improving power supply to the state, whereas the third line will bring to Brazil the energy from the six-plant-set that may be implemented in Peru.
Muniz also informed that implementation of another transmission line has already begun, linking Tucuruí (state of Pará) – Manaus – Macapá (state of Amapá).
In his assessment, it is a "monumental work that is going to enable integration with the National Interconnected System (SIN). Thus, by 2012, the Isolated System will cease to exist," he said, making mention to the isolation, from the perspective of electric energy supply, of some of the North compared with the rest of the country.