Aneel president calls for revised environmental licensing process

Jul 26, 2006 02:00 AM

Brazil needs to revise its environmental licensing process to guarantee expansion of installed capacity in the power sector, power regulator Aneel president Jerson Kelman told. Congress needs to get involved in the licensing process to pick projects considered essential for expanding the country's power generation capacity, he said.
"I speak as a university professor and out of desperation because the current system is not working," he said. In addition, it is important to revise Brazil's environmental legislation, he said.

Although Brazil's power supply is guaranteed until 2010, Kelman pointed out the slowness in approving new power generation projects could eventually threaten the expansion of power generation. While some projects are held up in the licensing process, many others spill over into courts as public prosecutors and NGOs file suits against projects being built or licensed.
"The rights of indigenous populations and the need to preserve the environment are often recognized, but often the right Brazilians have to obtain a job or to have electricity is ignored," he said.

Kelman is well known in Brazil as the former president of water resources regulatory agency ANA. He also penned a conclusive report on the causes of the 2001-02 power crisis. Many of his proposals were incorporated into the overhaul of power sector legislation from 2003-04.
His comments come as government efforts to increase power supply are increasingly being blocked by licensing delays despite recent restructuring. The government is looking more and more to high hydroelectric potential in the Amazon region to develop new hydro power generation projects.

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