| SAO PAULO
SAO PAULO Jan 3 State Grid Corp of China
has asked the Brazilian government and regulators to
speed up environmental licensing of a planned power line
connecting to the Belo Monte dam in the Amazon forest, according
to official documents and a source with direct knowledge of the
State Grid, the world's biggest utility, fears it could have
to delay construction of the line, possibly forcing the
third-largest hydroelectric power dam to begin operating in 2019
below full capacity.
Belo Monte, a dam built on the Xingu River in the Amazon
forest, will have a total installed capacity of 11,233
megawatts, exceeded only by China's Three Gorges and Brazil's
The Chinese firm, together with two units of the Centrais
Elétricas do Brasil SA state-controlled utility, has
begun work in the first of two transmission lines linking Belo
Monte to cities throughout Brazil.
The source said State Grid had expected to receive a
preliminary license from Brazil's Ibama environmental agency for
a second 2,500 kilometers-long transmission line by October 2016
and authorization to begin construction by February 2017.
Ibama has not issued either of the licenses for the second
transmission line, which will carry power to the southeast,
Brazil's biggest energy consumer, and other states.
The source said that while the delay did not affect the
construction schedule, the preliminary authorization needs to be
issued in January, followed by the building authorization in
Ibama said its analysis was still underway and it had no
estimate of when it would be completed.
Last week, Brazil's power regulator Aneel contacted the
Energy and Mining Ministry to ask for support in speeding up the
licensing process, an Aneel document seen by Reuters showed.
Construction of the power line, which State Grid estimates
will cost 7 billion reais ($2.15 billion), needs to be complete
by December 2019 if Belo Monte is to operate in full capacity.
A State Grid document seen by Reuters said that delays in
the licensing process would also force it to disburse additional
money as it could miss deadlines for receiving funds from state
development bank BNDES.
In an emailed statement, a State Grid representative said
the company is confident that the licensing will occur normally
and that it will take all efforts to compensate potential
($1 = 3.2500 reais)
(Reporting by Luciano Costa; Writing by Bruno Federowski;
Editing by Grant McCool)