Construction of the billion-dollar Serra Quebrada dam project in northern Brazil has been given the green light by the region’s state energy generating company, Electronorte. The 1320MW dam will be offered for tender next year and construction will begin in 2001.

Serra Quebrada will be located upstream from Brazil’s second largest dam, Tucurui on the river Tocantins near Imperatriz, a regional population centre. The river is a tributary of the lower Amazon.

The new dam should be completed by 2006, according to the president of Electronorte, Jose Antonio Muniz Lopes. It will have a 420km2 reservoir and the barrier will require 381M m3 of concrete for construction.

Lopes says that an environmental impact study is being undertaken in the area, and that a number of private companies have already shown an interest in constructing the dam. He also emphasised that the recent completion of Brazil’s north-south trunk transmission line, connecting the northern grid to the industrial southeast, passes close by the Serra Quebrada site, giving easy access to markets and aiding investor interest.

Lopes predicts that a second transmission line would eventually have to be strung to transport the extra energy available from the new project.