BRAZIL’S PARANA STATE environment authority has suspended the construction of all small-scale hydroelectric projects, in a move against privatisation policies followed by past federal and state governments.

The suspension effectively freezes the construction of completed hydro power projects. Plants already operating are not affected and will be able to renew their licences in the same way as they had previously.

The Environment Authority (IAP) based its decision on a recommendation from the state attorney’s office, which questioned private sector profiting from hydro plants at the expense of Parana state’s natural resources. IAP also questioned the right of federal power regulator Aneel to grant concessions for rivers in Parana state.

Parana state has 26 small-scale hydro projects in operation, totalling 142MW, out of the state’s 16,313MW total installed capacity. According to Aneel, a further four small hydro projects totalling 45.4MW are under construction, and 11 projects totalling 153MW were licensed between 1998 and 2002, but have not started construction yet.

Parana is Brazil’s second largest power producing state, behind Sao Paulo, and generates 19.37% of the national total.