The Brazilian government plans to accept bids this year for licenses to build 10 planned hydroelectric power stations with a combined generating capacity of close to 4000 MW according to government officials and the government’s own energy-expansion plans.

Mauricio Tolmasquim, president of the EPE energy research company, said that the government has already submitted plans for three large hydroelectric projects to the Court of Auditors and plans to do the same with the other smaller dams before 10 October.

“We want to hold the auction by mid-December at the latest. The timeframe is very short and everything still depends on whether the environmental licenses are issued on time,” Tolmasquim told reporters after a seminar at the Sao Paulo State Federation of Industries.

The three large hydroelectric projects and one of the smaller ones are to be located on the Teles Pires River, at a spot in the western state of Mato Grosso near the southern edge of the Amazon jungle.

The largest of them, to be named Teles Pires, will be located near the town of Paranaita and have a generating capacity of 1820 MW, while the next largest is a proposed 746 MW hydro plant to be located near the town of Sao Manoel. Another will be located near the Mato Grosso city of Sinop, and will have generating capacity of 461 MW.

In April, the rights to build the gian 11233 MW Belo Monte hydroelectric complex were awarded to a consortium of nine companies. That dam will be built on an Amazon tributary and be the world’s third largest after Three Gorges and Itaipu.

The new plan has has sparked protests by environmentalists and indigenous groups, who say the dam will displace thousands and threaten a delicate ecosystem.

Close to 85 percent of Brazil’s electricity currently is generated by hydroelectric plants, but the government wans it to be even higher to enusre that a high percentage of the country’s electricity output continues to come from renewable sources.