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Brazil bank releases funds for two Neoenergia projects

Brazil's national development bank has released the first 100 million reais (US$43.2 million) tranche of 121 million (US$52.3 million) financing approved for construction of two small hydro projects by Brazilian utility holding company Neoenergia.

Neoenergia said Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES) approved the funding for the 20-MW Pirapitinga (or Pirapetinga) and 19-MW Pedra do Garrafao hydroelectric projects.

Construction of the plants began in October by Neoenergia unit Rio PCH 1 on the Itabapoana River between Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo states. (HNN 2/29/08) Neoenergia previously said it expects to complete the projects in 2009.

BNDES is providing 56.9 million reais (US$24.6 million) to Pirapitinga, equivalent to 70 percent of the 81.3 million reais (US$35.1 million) investment in the project. The project includes a six-kilometer transmission line.

BNDES is providing 58.7 million reais (US$25.4 million) to Pedra do Garrafao, equivalent to 70 percent of the 83.8 million reais (US$36.2 million) investment in the project. The project includes a 16-kilometer transmission line.

Neoenergia wins concession for 350.2-MW Baixo Iguacu

Brazil regulator Agencia Nacional de Energia Eletrica (ANEEL) awarded a concession to Neoenergia to build and operate the 350.2-MW Baixo Iguacu on the Iguacu River in Parana State.

Baixo Iguacu was the only hydropower project to join a group of thermal power plants in the A-5 concession and power auction held September 30 by ANEEL. (HNN 8/14/08) Neoenergia offered a bid to sell power from the project at 99 reais (US$42.83) per MWh, a discount of 19.5 percent from the reference price set by ANEEL of 123 reais (US$53.21) per MWh.

Neoenergia said it would hold 90 percent of the venture, with 10 percent held by engineering company Desenvix.

Neoenergia, a Brazilian unit of Spanish utility Iberdrola, controls Brazilian distribution utilities Celpe, Coelba, and Cosern, plus generating assets.

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