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Brazil government approves 350MW hydropower venture

Neoenergia and Copel’s plans agreed to build $710m hydro plant on Iguacu River in Parana state.

The Brazilian plant, named Baixo Iguaçu, will include a 410m dam with three 22m turbines and will cover 31km of the river.

The Brazilian Government has approved a 350MW joint hydropower plant project to be built in Parana state. The Administrate Council of Economic Defence (ACED) has agreed for Brazilian energy firms Neoenergia and Copel to construct the $710m plant on the BRIC country’s Iguacu River.

The Brazilian plant, named Baixo Iguaçu, will include a 410m dam with three 22m turbines and will cover 31km of the river. It will have the capacity to provide power for one million people in the surrounding area. The dam is set to be complete by 2016.

The plant looks set to grow Brazil’s already high hydropower capacity. A report in February from ANEEL found more than 65 per cent of installed renewable energy capacity in Brazil is from hydropower.

Construction of the Baixo Iguaçu plant is expected to generate 3,500 direct jobs and generate $11.8m for the economy. This will make it one of the largest hydropower ventures in the BRIC country.

Solange Ribeiro, chief executive of Groupo Neoenergia, said: “The construction of the dam will be an important development for the region and for Brazil, since we, in three years, have generated more renewable energy for sustainable development of the country.

"With Baixo Iguaçu and participations in other plants, Neoenergia is on the way to becoming one of the most representative groups of the country in private power generation. Until 2019, our projects have the capacity to generate 4,087 MW’’ she added.

The river is already home to three other plants owned by Copel, The Foz do Areia, the Segredo and the Salto Caxias. The Salto Osorio and Salto Santiago dams, owned by rival Tractebel are also installed on the river. Altogether the five plants have a combined estimated capacity of 6,674MW.