The Madeira Energia consortium includes Furnas Centrais Eletricas (39%), Odebrecht Investimentos em Infraestructura Ltds (17.6%), Andrade Guitierrez Participacoes S/A (12.4%), Cemig Geracao e Transmissao S/A (10%), and Construtora Norberto Odebrecht S/A (1%). The remaining 20% of the consortium is held by banks Banif and Santander as Fundo de Investimentos e Participacoes Amazonia Energia (FIP).

In a closed door electronic auction, Brazil’s national electricity regulator, Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica (Aneel) received offers from three bidders before declaring the lowest tender for the power sale price as R$78.87/MWh (US$44.6/MWh). The Madeira Energia consortium bid more than a third below the cap of R$122/MWh (US$69/MWh) set by Aneel.

The deadline for checking the bid is in order and to confirm the award is 2 January 2008. The 30 year concession contracts are due to be signed May-June 2008

The losing bids were from: Consorcio Energia Sustentavel do Brasil (Cesb), which includes Suez and Eletrosul, and, Consorcio de Empresas Investimentos de Santo Antonio (Ceisa), which includes Chesf, CPFL, Endesa Brasil and Camargo Correa Investimentos em Infra-Estrutura.

The Santo Antonio plant is to be built on the Madeira river in the west Amazon, near the border with Bolivia. The first two of 44 units are to be in operation by December 2012, which gives a construction period of 43 months. The budget for the project was estimated in 2006 to be R$9.5B (US$4.45B – 2006 currencies; if cost steady then US$5.37B at present exchange rates) by Empresa de Pesquisa Energetica (EPE).

The auction was originally scheduled to be held late October and followed the mid-year environmental licence being awarded by the national environment regulator Ibama. The award was made after prolonged assessment during which opposition was raised to the project, along with the 3300MW Jirau project, which together form the 6450MW ‘Madeira’ scheme. Bolivia has also voiced opposition due to cross-border effects of reservoir impounding from the Madeira scheme.