According to reports from Reuters, the auction has been largely delayed because of problems acquiring an environmental licence for the estimated US$9.4B project.

Brazil’s national electricity regulator, Aneel, had approved a study of the hydro potential of the Belo Monte scheme on the Xingu river by Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras (Electrobras) and partners in July last year.

The study identified a potential generation capacity on the river – a major tributary of the Amazon in north Brazil – of 11,187MW for a reservoir size of 440km2. It added that the project was previously specified by the national energy policy council (CNPE), under Resolution 06/2008, as the only hydro power potential to be explored on the Xingu.

The report, and its approval, was a major step towards preparing for the auction of the project.