The Brazilian Government has approved the construction of 29 new power generation facilities, with a combined power generation capacity of 669.5MW, and a total investment of around BRL 2.5bn ($716m).

Citing power sector regulator Aneel, Reuters reported that power generated from the facilities will be sold at an average price of BLR188 per megawatt-hour ($53.88 per MWh).

Approximately 19 projects, with a combined capacity of 538MW, will generate electricity from wind source and are expected to enter service in 2018.The remaining projects are based on biomass, natural gas and small hydropower sources.

The licensing is a part of the country’s effort to diversify its power mix after relying primarily on hydropower for power generation.

The depletion of hydroelectric reservoirs due to reduced rainfall in 2013 and 2014 has prompted the country to consider alternative sources of energy to meet power demands.

Light, Copel, Celesc, AES Eletropaulo Grupo Votorantim and Tractebel Energia are among the companies selected for the contracts.

The power plants, which are backed by power purchase agreements, are planned to be developed in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Bahia, Ceara, Maranhao and Piaui, reported SeeNews Renewables.

The PPAs will be valid for 20 to 30 years.