Originally, the Ministry of Mines and Energy had scheduled the auction for 30 October, following public consultations which ended 17 August. However, the deadline was extended upon the request of the federal electricity regulator Aneel, the ministry said.

The Santo Antonio project is to be built on the river Madeira in the west, Amazonian region of Brazil. It is the sister project to the 3300MW Jirau plant, also to be built as part of the 6450MW Madeira scheme in Rondonia state.

Last month, the Ministry noted that the Santo Antonio project was of strategic importance, which made its construction a priority for the auction process. In its latest statement, the ministry said the auction would seek to secure delivery of 2218MW on average, and that the winning bidder would not pay for navigation-related costs.

One of the major hydro power systems to be built in Latin America, the Madeira scheme has had a difficult development, especially with prolonged environmental assessments. Even when the national environmental regulator Ibama awarded provisional licences mid-year to both Santo Antonio and Jirau, a formal complaint fell on them from Bolivia as their catchments, and impoundment effects, would extend over the territorial border.