A Chinese company won the auction on Friday of a concession to build and operate an estimated 7 billion reais ($2.23 billion) power transmission line in Brazil.
China’s State Grid Brazil Holding will build a gigantic transmission line for the Belo Monde hydroelectric dam, located deep in the Amazon rainforest. The Chinese company also won the first auction for a Belo Monte transmission line.
In an auction realized at the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, China’s State Grid subsidiary made the lowest bid by offering to operate the dam’s second power line in exchange for 988 million reals a year ($309 million).
Spanish firm Abengoa came in second place in the bid.
This is the second transmission line concession to be auctioned to connect the Belo Monte dam in the Amazon to the national grid and center-south systems.
State Grid Brazil Holding has committed to finish building in 2019 and to begin operating the power line in 2020 and will maintain the concession for 30 years.
The second transmission line will run for 2,250 km and will connect the Belo Monte dam to the town of Nova Iguacu near Rio de Janeiro.
The construction will be spread across five Brazilian states- Para, Tocantins, Goias, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro.
According to Ramon Haddad, Vice-President for Operations at State Grid Brazil Holding, the scale of the project means that the Chinese firm will be seeking a partner in Brazil to help.
Construction on the Belo Monte dam began in March 2011 but has faced regular opposition by indigenous communities, farmers, fishermen and ecologists, who maintain the project will have a devastating environmental impact on the Amazon.
Work on the dam should be completed by January 2019 but has seen regular interruptions due to judicial reversals, strikes by workers and protests.
Belo Monte will dam the Xingu river, a tributary to the Amazon, and is set to flood 506 square kilometers of the jungle.
Once fully operational, Belo Monte will have a maximum capacity of 11,233MW, and is estimated to produce at an average capacity of 4,419MW a year.
It will be the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam.
TBP and Agencies