Public consultation on the auction proposals is to be carried over the coming days, and the deadline for submissions is 17 August.

A separate public consultation is to be undertaken by the national electricity regulator Aneel on the procurement process involving bidding consortia.

The decision to prepare the auction process comes shortly after Brazil’s national environmental regulator Ibama granted a provisional licence for the construction of the scheme, to be built in Rondonia state. In July, in announcing the licence, Ibama noted that its conditional approval paved the way for the federal government to auction the hydro scheme.

Santo Antonio is one of two projects to be built on the river Madeira, the other being the slightly larger 3300MW Jirau project. Together, they have been referred to as the 6450MW Madeira scheme.

The Madeira scheme has undergone extensive, and prolonged, environmental assessments due to protests from a number of parties, including federal prosecutors.

Following Ibama’s award of the provisional environmental licences to both projects there was a formal complaint issued by neighbouring Bolivia over the degree of consultation in the development process for the schemes, which will see river impoundment effects extending into its territory and affecting its environment.